Video: Biohackers take coronavirus vaccine into their own hands

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Credit: Reason

A collective of biohackers has begun circulating a document proposing a plan to create, test, and distribute a vaccine to battle SARS-CoV-2. To get started, they say they need “between $10-25k.”

Reason’s Zach Weissmueller sat down with the lead biologist on the project, who requested anonymity due to fear of retribution from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Reason has verified his identity.

This team is attempting to create a vaccine using synthetic DNA constructed in a lab, which could save both money and time, though it might require a special device to deliver an electrical pulse to help the vaccine penetrate cell membranes.

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The method has successfully produced antibodies to MERS but remains untested on a large population because there has been no outbreak since it was developed. Still, this gives the biohacker and his team enough confidence to proceed.

The proposal says the team will first look for positive responses in blood samples, rely on safety testing results from the company whose techniques they are mirroring, and then begin distributing dried versions of the vaccine to willing volunteers who would self-report results daily in exchange for free access to the vaccine.

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