With a global pandemic showing few signs of abating, citizen science has gained a new focus: a COVID-19 vaccine. The possibility of a vaccine as a magic bullet to the pandemic looms large in the public imagination, inciting both hope and fear. And, as billions of dollars in development money flow to Big Pharma, questions have been raised as to the equitability of the process and the effectiveness of public health outcomes should a vaccine come to market. One group of biomedical researchers has taken matters into their own hands and is focused on the rapid development and public sharing of vaccine recipes that are simple enough to be produced and administered by individual citizen scientists. And, they’re testing it on themselves.

Date recorded: Thursday, August 13th, 4pm PDT / 7pm EDT

In this Plan C Live episode, hosts Dale Dougherty of Make: Community and Dorothy Jones-Davis of Nation of Makers will be talking to members of the team involved in the Rapid Deployment Vaccine Collaborative, or RadVac, who have developed and self administered the DIY vaccine. Read the white paper on their process here.

  • How did a group of independent scientists come together to develop and share a vaccine for COVID-19?
  • What does open sourcing a vaccine mean and who might use it?
  • What kind of research did the team do to develop the vaccine?
  • What did they learn about the virus through this process?
  • What are the potential options for seeing if the vaccine gets produced? And, for whom?

The Panel

  • Ranjan Ahuja is a co-founder and self-experimenter at RaDVaC, and Director of Community at the innovative Harvard Personal Genome Project. His focus is on building communities and facilitating cooperative networks, inclusive of both scientists and the scientifically curious.
  • Alex Hoekstra is a molecular biologist, co-founder and self-experimenter at RaDVaC. Like many of the RaDVaC founders, Alex was on staff at the Harvard Personal Genome Project for many years, and has long been an activist for transparency, accessibility, inclusivity, and participatory equity in science. Twitter / LinkedIn