A scientist claims to have developed a solution that can potentially put an end to virtually all known viruses, but he is just too underfunded to pursue it.
When MIT-educated bioengineer Todd Rider revealed his anti-viral concept called “Double-stranded RNA (dsRNA) Activated Caspase Oligomerizer,” or DRACO, in 2011, it was very well received in the science community, with Time even dubbing it as one of the best inventions of the year.
Passing all initial tests (18 viruses in human and animal cells and in mice), DRACO has the makings of becoming one of the most important medical breakthroughs since the creation of antibiotics.
According to its crowdfunding description, DRACO works by detecting the virus-infected cells and then causing them to “commit suicide.” It is also said to be safe as it does not harm uninfected cells.
Five years and several lab transfers later, however, Rider has yet to advance his research due to lack of sufficient funding. Raising the money to continue testing DRACO has proved to be difficult for the scientist despite the alleged consistency of the project’s promise.
He calls the unfortunate situation his project is in “the funding valley of death,” wherein the project is unable to get more funding from those who contributed to his initial studies and unable to get support from Big Pharma as the development stage is still far from market.
Not wanting to put his extensive 16-year research to waste, Rider has sought the internet’s help to advance his cause. On May 3, Rider and his independent research group have launched another crowdfunding campaign on IndieGoGo with hopes to raise $2 million for the DRACO research.
This funding will allow Rider to test DRACO against herpes viruses and test his experimental antiviral drugs with human clinical trials.
Confident about DRACO’s chances of success, Rider is aiming for his campaign to go viral online to be able reach as many donors as possible. As of this writing, the project has reached just a little over $15,000 out of the $2 million target.