A microchip for detecting coronavirus infection designed to be embedded under the skin has been developed by Pentagon scientists in a top-secret unit set up during the Cold War.
The technology also integrates with a filter capable of removing the virus from the blood via a dialysis machine.
The team, comprised of researchers at the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), had their invention broadcast on Sunday, April 11, on CBS’s 60 Minutes.
Retired Colonel Matt Hepburn was interviewed. He was an army infectious disease physician who claimed that he and his team had been spending years researching with the secret agency developing the technology that would be the key to freeing the future world of any potential pandemic.
Several of the Hepburn team’s latest projects seem more like inspiration from a fiction novel than regular laboratory works.
Sixty Minutes host Bill Whitaker asked the colonel, “What if everyone on board had their health monitored with this subdermal implant, now in late-stage testing? It’s not some dreaded government microchip to track your every move, but a tissue-like gel engineered to continuously test your blood.”
According to Hepburn, the “check engine light” incorporated microchip when put underneath the skin will access chemical reactions inside the body and send out signals notifying a Covid-19 patient before symptoms appear “tomorrow.”
Hepburn referred again to the example of the USS Theodore Roosevelt ship, which had 1,271 of its crew member tested positive for the coronavirus, theorizing that if the chip were present, a sailor would be alerted of his infection before he actually transmits the disease to a different person and “then self-administer a blood draw and test themselves on site.”
This innovation would allow intensive protection against a potential outbreak.
“We can have that information in three to five minutes. As you truncate that time, as you diagnose and treat, what you do is you stop the infection in its tracks,” said Hepburn.
DARPA also has come up with another technological breakthrough involving a filter that could eliminate the virus from the blood when attached to a dialysis machine.
“You pass it through, and it takes the virus out, and puts the blood back in,” Hepburn explained how the technology might work.
Dr. Hepburn also reviewed that a patient by the code name ‘Patient 16’, a military spouse, has completely recovered in just several days thanks to the filter throughout a four-day treatment. Beforehand, the patient was suffering from organ failure and septic shock.
The filter has been authorized for emergency use by the FDA, and currently, up to 300 critically ill patients have been treated with the technology.
Although officials have told 60 Minutes that the Pentagon will not use the technology to monitor people, its ability to provide possible tracking of an individual’s every day move still raise concerns, especially over how the government would handle it.
Among some of the current projects that the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency is developing: a health-monitoring subdermal implant. It’s not a government tracking microchip, but rather a tissue-like gel engineered to continuously test your blood. https://t.co/1UDs9dBNcE pic.twitter.com/Zfph8xQUKC
— 60 Minutes (@60Minutes) April 11, 2021