Bioterror is the real threat. At the most recent joint US-Korea wargames, held on the border of North and South Korea, biowarfare was one of the threats introduced, to which allied forces had little to no defense. That exercise drove home the importance of biowarfare preparedness, and the military is currently scrambling to get up to speed.
In fact, according to Joel McCleary of Pharmathene who will speak at a Providence Vaccine Conference today, defense experts currently consider the threat of bioterror to be so real that development of a streamlined medical response system and accelerated vaccine production should be given the highest priority, but current production methods are not designed to meet this challenge. Clearly, making vaccines in eggs or even cell lines is too slow, and traditional methods of vaccine development are too unwieldy for response to a bioterror threat. What can be done to improve our nation’s first line of immune defense and response capability?
Experts will discuss this topic in great detail at the 6th Annual Vaccine Renaissance Conference scheduled to take place here in Providence, Rhode Island beginning on Monday October 15 and running through October 17, 2012, organized by the Institute for Immunology and Informatics (iCubed) at the University of Rhode Island. The event promises to be an exciting gathering of some of the top minds in vaccine research and development.
Information on the event is available at this website: http://www.immunome.org/conferences/vaccine-renaissance-conference/6th-annual-vaccine-renaissance-conference/
Monday morning speakers Include:
- Sheldon Whitehouse, Senator, State of Rhode Island
- Joel McCleary, Chairman, Co-Founder, PharmAthene, Inc.
- Jason Paragas, Ph.D. Special Assistant to the Director, Defense Threat Reduction Agency (DTRA)
- Stephen Thomas, M.D., Director, Viral Diseases Branch, Walter Reed Army Medical Center
- Mark Poznansky, M.D., Ph.D., Director, Vaccine and Immunotherapy Center, MGH
- William T. Golde, Ph.D. Plum Island Animal Disease Center
Methods for the extremely rapid production of safe vaccines are being developed by EpiVax and the iCubed at the University of Rhode Island in collaboration with experts from Harvard and with funding from DARPA and the Department of Defense.
We have the capacity to respond to biowarfare. Expert vaccine developers and experienced companies that can execute each step in the development of safe and effective vaccines “on demand” have been identified. At the time of a bioterror attack, using high performance gene sequencing technologies and state of the art computer vaccine design tools, a safe and effective vaccine can be designed in a matter of days. Once designed, production and formulation activities can be completed in a matter of weeks. Distribution followed by self-administration would be a rapid and efficient means of massive distribution over the course of a very short timeline. The use of existing best-in-class technologies and pre-tested and pre-approved management and regulatory protocols will provide an effective counter-measure leading to greater biodefense preparedness and a “first line of immune defense” against pandemic and highly pathogenic infectious diseases.
The 6th Vaccine Renaissance conference will provide a one-of-a-kind forum for discussion about biowarfare (Monday Morning), animal disease vaccines (afternoon) and other significant infectious disease threats such as Malaria, Lyme Disease, and Hepatitis C. For more information, see the conference website http://www.immunome.org.
WHEN: Conference: Monday, October 15 and Tuesday, October 16
WHERE: Hotel Providence – 139 Mathewson Street, Providence, R.I. 02903
For more on the US-Korean wargames