• DARPA’s system would work like this: powerful antibodies would be isolated from survivors of a communicable disease, and the plans for making those antibodies would be encoded in RNA or DNA, then pumped into people who might come into contact with the disease.
  • The cells in these people’s bodies would suck in the genetic material and start cranking out these high-performing antibodies. Any single human’s immunological innovation could be spread to the rest of humanity, protecting us all. The process would be faster and cheaper than previous methods of making vaccines and it would be widely applicable to all kinds of Hot Zone-style emerging diseases.
  • The DARPA program takes the normal kind of genetic vaccine and cuts out a few steps. Rather than injecting DNA with code for an adjuvant and hoping the body makes the right kind of antibodies on its own, Wattendorf wants to inject the code for the antibody itself, which would allow the body to do less immunological guesswork before starting to fight the infection.

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