End the Virus: Crowdfunding Campaign for DRACO

Supporters of the DRACO (double-stranded RNA activated caspase oligomerizer) approach to antiviral medicine have launched a crowdfunding campaign, seeking enough philanthropic funding to move forward from the excellent results in cell and animal studies. DRACO represents an entirely novel approach to the problem of viral infection, potentially applicable to near all viruses, including those that currently cannot be effectively treated. The SENS Research Foundation is acting as a sponsoring organization, allowing donations to be tax deductible. The legal side of setting up a non-profit takes a couple of years these days, so this sort of assistance is pretty common for new initiatives. DRACO has been featured at SENS conferences in past years, so it seems like a good match.

Viruses must infect human or animal cells in order to replicate, and virtually all virus-infected cells contain long double-stranded RNA, whereas healthy cells do not. DRACOs detect double-stranded RNA inside the infected cells and then cause those cells to commit suicide before the viruses can replicate and spread to other cells. DRACOs do not harm uninfected cells because DRACOs are only looking for the general structure of double-stranded RNA that is made by a wide variety of viruses. By the process of efficiently eliminating only virus-infected cells, DRACOs may be able to permanently cure viral infections that can currently only be controlled. When tested in human and animal cells, DRACOs have been nontoxic and effective against 15 different viruses, including rhinovirus (the common cold) and dengue hemorrhagic fever.

Currently, DRACOs are in the well-known Valley of Death - the financial and experimental gap between the previously funded National Institutes of Health (NIH) proof of concept experiments and the threshold for convincing major pharmaceutical companies to advance DRACOs toward human trials. This campaign has been set up to raise the funding necessary to bridge that gap. With your assistance, we hope to raise enough funding to test and optimize DRACOs against clinically relevant viruses in human cells. If successful, the results of those experiments should persuade pharmaceutical companies and other major sponsors to commit their own resources to advance DRACOs through large-scale animal trials and hopefully human trials. Without your assistance, DRACOs may never progress further, and their potential to revolutionize the treatment of viral infections may remain unfulfilled.

Link: https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/help-end-viral-diseases-with-dracos/


Thank you for posting this! The crowdfunding donations have slowed down considerably over the past couple of days. It doesn't go "viral" because it seems to be a taboo to most people to talk with their friends about potentially revolutionary new drugs. I think it's because the word "cure" has been overused too many times.

The DRACO marketing team is now searching for new ways out of the dilemma and is looking for marketing volunteers.
Please send an email to info at killingsickness dot com with a brief description of your skills and maybe your ideas.

Thank you!

Posted by: Nicolai at October 19th, 2015 1:14 PM

@Nicolai: Medical research is in general a hard sell. It's difficult to get people to pay attention, as we've found over the years.

Fundraising and bootstrapping attention for a cause is always a grind, but congratulations to those of you working on DRACO for raising the profile of this research to the present point, which is a considerable improvement over a few years ago. The first step is always to set out to make progress.

Posted by: Reason at October 19th, 2015 1:49 PM

I learned that persuading people face to face is much more promising (than mass emails, for example) - which is not really a surprise, but the point is: Have the courage to speak out, it will pay off!

Posted by: Nicolai Kilian at October 19th, 2015 2:14 PM

Hallo Nicolai, one thing I've remarked on the DRACO funding campaign page is that the "cure all" aspect which is put forward can make people wary.

Indeed, saying that a treatment could kill all viruses... that's usually what you'd hear from snake oil salesmen.

What should be done, then, are additional interviews from scientists not directly involved in this project. Even better if these are video interviews. People could just click on the vid, sit back, and watch testimonials in favour of DRACO. They'll be reassured that those ambitious promises are backed by less partial observers.

People want to believe but they don't want to be misled.

Posted by: Nico at October 19th, 2015 3:40 PM

That's a very good point. It's also what I had in my subconscious mind when I first saw the fundraiser. I'm going to forward your thoughts to Dr. Rider. Thank you!

Posted by: Nicolai at October 19th, 2015 3:48 PM

@Nicolai, I suggest that you google the terms "AIDS forum" "hepatitis forum" "herpes forum" and then post/contact them to pitch DRACOs, perhaps with Nico's suggested support by other scientists. People in these forums are typically desperate for answers and bombard such forums looking for help. They may be fertile ground for DRACOs support. For the record, I tried the above method and posted to the http://www.poz.com forum section alone on viral research. Unfortunately, they deleted my post I believe because it had a link to your Indiegogo campaign and they may have considered it spam. There are numerous posts in that forum section on the latest AIDS vaccines, drugs, etc. that seem to link to scientific articles. The DRACOs marketing team may take this more sophisticated route. Repeat this process with all of the other forums that I mentioned and a lot of worried people may contribute.

Posted by: Morpheus at October 19th, 2015 8:44 PM

It really sucks that this isn't going better =(

Posted by: Jim at October 21st, 2015 5:31 AM

Following my suggestions, the fundraiser website has been updated with more defensively-minded wording. Please have a look.

Posted by: Nicolai at October 23rd, 2015 3:40 AM

Unfortunately, I can't donate because I don't have a credit card.

Posted by: Antonio at October 24th, 2015 9:08 AM
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