At the March 2015 Consortium of Universities for Global Health (CUGH) conference in Boston, there were two outstanding speakers- Dr Jonna Mazet and Dr Craig Venter.
Dr Jonna Mazet is a veterinarian, professor at UC Davis and head of PREDICT. She and her international team at PREDICT are providing global surveillance for new and dangerous viruses that could transfer from animal hosts to humans. These viruses could be the basis for the next pandemic.
In 1918, the Spanish Flu, an unusually deadly H1N1 influenza pandemic infected 500 million and killed 50 to 100 million persons. This was one of the deadliest natural disasters in human history. No more.
At CUGH 2015, Dr Craig Venter chief scientist at Synthetic Genomics described his vision for delivering new on demand high fidelity vaccines to prevent pandemics.
In Dr Venter’s model, the genotyping of the viruses will occur as soon as the virus is isolated. This information maps the genetic blue print encoded in the DNA and RNA of the viruses. This information is uploaded to the cloud.
Dr Venter’s team at Sythetic Genomics has developed a machine (the Gibson Assembly Ultra) that is the equivalent of a 3D printer for vaccines. The genetic blue print is downloaded from the cloud to the Gibson Assembly machine. This machine produces the synthetic DNA which forms the basis for the vaccine. The vaccine is grown in cell culture and then harvested for use to prevent disease.
This winning team ( Dr Mazet and Dr Venter) provides the best chance of humanity escaping from a pandemic,
3 cheers for Drs Mazet and Venter and the Gibson Assembly Ultra machine.