DARPA Seeks to SHIELD Blood From Fungal and Bacterial Pathogens

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Source: DARPA, https://www.darpa.mil/news-events/2023-06-29
Source: DARPA, https://www.darpa.mil/news-events/2023-06-29

August 6, 2023 | Originally published by DARPA on June 29, 2023

Fungal and bacterial pathogens can cause bloodstream infections (BSI), are a persistent and deadly threat to both civilian and military populations, and are particularly prevalent in the military due to increased risk of infection following trauma. These infections can be uniquely challenging due to delays in diagnosis, antibiotic resistance, and toxicity of treatments, especially for fungal infections.

But what if you could have a Roomba-like treatment circulating within your blood that whisks away pathogens before you get sick? DARPA’s new Synthetic Hemo-technologIEs that Locate & Disinfect (SHIELD) program aims to develop broad, preventive treatments for Warfighters who suffer trauma from gunshot or blast wounds or burns. Novel therapies would be administered as combat casualty care post-trauma with the aim to bind, clear, and defeat any fungi and bacteria in a pathogen-agnostic or broad-spectrum manner before they can become a health risk. These therapies will be designed to protect the recipient for up to a week with a single dose; be durable, non-toxic, rapidly and broadly deployable; and be effective against the many different known and emerging bacterial and fungal threats.

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