(FiveNation.com)- Last week, the Pentagon launched a new strategy designed to make those who serve in the military impervious to chemical or biological threats.
According to the DoD’s strategy document released last Tuesday, recent technological advances have made the Pentagon’s previous strategy of developing individual preventative measures and cures for each known chemical and biological threat unrealistic.
Instead, the Pentagon’s Chemical and Biological Defense Program (CBDP) will focus on finding ways to engineer military personnel’s immune systems with catch-all vaccines, therapeutics, and equipment capable of handling any possible chemical or biological threat, including those that aren’t necessarily weapons, according to a report in Politico.
CBDP will “leverage” existing relationships with pharmaceutical companies to fast-track the development of immunization technologies that can protect US troops against multiple viruses, the strategy states.
According to Politico, one possible prevention the Pentagon is developing appears to “modulate the immune system” through six separate metabolic pathways. Researchers are also looking into monoclonal antibodies for three distinct groups of viruses.
In a press release, CBDP’s medical director Kevin Wingerd said for a “response preparedness posture,” the Pentagon needs to invest in “unique medical infrastructure designed to rapidly produce new vaccines and drugs” while leveraging the existing medical infrastructure “by adapting them to target new agents quickly.”
According to the Politico report, the Pentagon is also looking into wearable devices that monitor vital signs in the field and generate a diagnosis in a chemical, pathogen, or biological attack.
The Pentagon said the expansion of its program to counter chemical and biological weapons grew in part from the rapid spread of COVID-19 which highlighted both the potential for non-weaponized agents to weaken the military on a large scale as well as the DoD’s role in developing countermeasures.
The Pentagon plans to spend $1.3 billion over the next five years to work out the strategy, CBDP deputy assistant secretary Ian Watson told Politico.