Listen up pandemics. Your next cure for communicable disease can be your own invention, as long as you’re a millionaire.
Federal health officials and other experts recommend finding and using vaccines as a pandemic response in times of crisis, giving millions of Americans a shot at potentially averting a potentially deadly outbreak.
Now a small Philadelphia business called Decorative Microorganisms intends to help people create “new vaccines” from everyday household objects like lithium-ion batteries and plastic beads.
Founder Joshua Ottawa saw the growing need for anti-viruses and bioterrorism kits after his wife died of serious infection and was in a coma for nearly a month. His brother was also among the 2 million Americans infected with swine flu. The CDC estimates that half of those infections were fatal.
The company has developed kits that include everything from a live virus to a stockpile of antiviral medication to the technology needed to create the proteins used to make vaccines. Customers pay $20 for each kit. With a few trips to their local Walmart, Ms. Ottawa said, they could create a vaccine in as little as an hour.
“You just don’t know what’s around the corner,” she said. “It’s not a one-size-fits-all approach to acquiring, with respect to a pandemic response.”