Biden Creates DARPA For Health – ARPA-H

    Joe Biden has created a DARPA for health, namely ARPA-H. When looking at the “Authorities needed by ARPA-H” as mentioned in the Fact Sheet, it is clear that the agency will have a lot of control over its initiatives.

    Biden Creates DARPA For Health - ARPA-H

    The National Institutes of Health (NIH) changed its structure (read below) on May 24, 2022, with little to no notice. The agency unveiled its newly founded Advanced Research Projects Agency for Health (ARPA-H), which was suggested by President Biden and authorized by Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS) Xavier Becerra.

    ARPA-H will operate as a separate institution within the NIH, with an aim to strengthen the US government’s ability to accelerate “high-risk, high-reward” biomedical and health studies.

    The agency would welcome the public-private cooperation utilized to produce the experimental COVID-19 “vaccines,” according to former NIH Director Francis Collins, the brains behind ARPA-H.

    A page on the NIH website devoted to ARPA-H emphasizes that it will encourage revolutionary research options for all patients, spanning from “molecular to societal,” with “high-risk, high-reward” as a central pillar.

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    The site speaks of the “strengths and successes of the U.S. biomedical enterprise,” which oversaw and conducted the dangerous research, but makes no direct reference of the contentious gain-of-function study that has led several specialists to suspect the origins of COVID-19.

    Biden Creates DARPA For Health - ARPA-H 2
    Congressional Research Service / Oversight of Gain of Function Research with Pathogens: Issues for Congress, May 26, 2022 / Appendix A. Select Biosafety/Security Events and Associated U.S. Policy Implementation Through 2018

    Recent advancements like “the highly successful COVID-19 vaccines,” according to the ARPA-H website, have the potential to “revolutionize how to prevent, treat, and even cure a range of diseases including cancer, infectious diseases, Alzheimer’s disease, and many others that together affect a significant number of Americans.”

    Becerra named Adam H. Russell, D.Phil., as the new partnership’s acting deputy director. Dr. Russell is presently the Chief Scientist at the Applied Research Laboratory for Intelligence and Security (ARLIS) at the University of Maryland, one among fourteen Department of Defense University-Affiliated Research Centers (UARCs).

    More on Adam H. Russell, D.Phil.

    ARLIS is now the only UARC with a “core mission” to endorse the US government’s intelligence and security communities whilst also vying to “integrate social and behavioral sciences, AI, and computing for new Human Domain applied research and development capabilities,” according to the University of Maryland’s webpage.

    Russell began his career with the US government in 2009, working as a Program Manager at the Intelligence Advanced Research Projects Activity (IARPA) for ten years before going to the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA).

    Russell (who does have a D.Phil. in social anthropology from Oxford and a BA in cultural anthropology from Duke) was known as the “DARPAnthropologist” at IARPA and DARPA, where he oversaw a large portfolio of “high-risk, high-impact” R&D initiatives aimed at improving the US government’s Human Domain functionality “to better understand, anticipate, and leverage human social behavior and variability” through a variety of social and behavioral sciences strategies. In a statement, Becerra said of Russell, who will start his new job later this month:

    “We are ecstatic that Dr. Adam Russell has accepted the challenge to help launch ARPA-H, President Biden’s bold, new endeavor to support ambitious and potentially transformational health research in this country. ARPA-H will have a singular purpose: to drive breakthroughs in health, including the prevention, detection and treatment of diseases such as cancer, Alzheimer’s and diabetes.”

    The Mission of ARPA-H

    The firm’s “proposed mission” is to “make pivotal investments in breakthrough technologies and broadly applicable platforms, capabilities, resources, and solutions” that could possibly alter key sectors of health and medicine for all patients, according to its website. ARPA-H will concentrate on developing technologies and areas of healthcare that “cannot be readily accomplished through traditional research or commercial activity,” according to the proclaimed mission.

    Former NIH Director Francis Collins (who oversaw the Human Genome Project) and White House Office of Science and Technology Policy Director Eric S. Lander, PhD. proposed the ARPA-H concept on June 22, 2021. Biden sought $5 billion for ARPA-H in his March budget, with extra financing for the National Institutes of Health totalling $49 billion. “ARPA-H could act as a mechanism to remove barriers and bring bold ideas to fruition more quickly,” Collins and Lander stated. Using the COVID-19 pandemic as an excuse, they added:

    “ARPA-H could help the U.S. capitalize on this unprecedented moment of scientific promise to drive life-saving discoveries and advancements which have the potential to significantly impact the health and quality of life for all Americans.”

    The White House “Fact Sheet” for ARPA-H asserts that the agency necessitates “many of the same authorities and flexibilities employed by DARPA (which has been funding mRNA research for nearly a decade) and ARPA-E,” and that constructing ARPA-H within the NIH instead of as a separate organization makes more sense because, among many other factors, ARPA-H must be carefully paired to the large array of biomedical and health knowledge, expertise, and actions within the NIH. When looking at the “Authorities needed by ARPA-H” as mentioned in the Fact Sheet, it is clear that the agency will have a lot of control over its initiatives. According to the Fact Sheet:

    “ARPA-H will need broad, flexible funding authorities that make it possible to mix and match from the best ideas within different applications with minimal bureaucracy, that allow for projects that don’t fit neatly into one-year intervals, that allow for funding distribution over multiple years, and that provide a mechanism to challenge scientific teams and industry players to compete.

    ARPA-H will need exemptions from traditional proposal review processes, which work well for much of the biomedical research ecosystem, but can take 18 months or more to get from idea to workshop to concept clearance to funding announcement to application first, and second level scientific review before the actual work even begins.”

    Read the document below:

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