The army vaccine could protect against COVID and all future coronaviruses

The Army’s COVID vaccine entered human clinical trials in March 2021.

Marcy Sanchez / US Army

For the latest news and information on the coronavirus pandemic, visit the WHO and CDC websites.

Dr Anthony Fauci, chief medical advisor to the White House, recently highlighted the government’s investment in a universal Vaccine against covid-19 which could successfully fight all variants. In an interview with NBC on Thursday, Fauci said there has been a concerted effort to develop a universal COVID vaccine that “would mean the initial vaccination would cover all of these small variants, so you shouldn’t worry.”

“We want a pan-coronavirus vaccine so we can have it on the shelf to respond to the next viral pandemic,” Fauci said. “In the end, you want to get a vaccine that covers everything.”

That dream of a universal vaccine is exactly what researchers at the US Army’s Walter Reed Army Institute of Research (WRAIR) have been working on for most of the past year. In December, the United States Army announced that its coronavirus vaccine, the COVID-19 spike ferritin nanoparticle vaccine (also known as SpFN) had completed Phase 1 of human studies with positive results. .

Dr Kayvon Modjarrad, director of infectious diseases at WRAIR and co-inventor of SpFN, told Defense One: “We are testing our vaccine against all the different variants, including omicron,” the strain. causing breakthrough infections, even in people who have received booster shots.

However, SpFN has yet to undergo Phase 2 and 3 human studies to test its efficacy and safety compared to current treatments, Modjarrad said.

We will share what we know about the Army’s COVID-19 vaccine, including how it works and when it might become available.

What’s more, here’s what we know about the omicron variant today and the evolving definition of what t meansor be “fully vaccinated” against COVID-19.

What is the US Army’s COVID-19 vaccine?

The three vaccines currently authorized for use in the United States take two approaches to prevent COVID-19 infection: the use of Pfizer and Moderna vaccines. mRNA to boost immunity, while the Johnson & Johnson vaccine uses a harmless rhinovirus to train the body’s immune system to respond to COVID.

The Spike Ferritin Nanoparticle COVID-19, or SpFN, vaccine takes a third approach, using a harmless portion of the COVID-19 virus to stimulate the body’s defenses against COVID-19.

SpFN also has less restrictive storage and handling requirements than the Moderna and Pfizer vaccines, allowing them to be used in a wider variety of situations. According to military scientists, it can be stored between 36 and 46 degrees Fahrenheit for up to six months and at room temperature for a month. Pfizer’s vaccine requires an ultra-cold freezer (between minus 112 and minus 76 degrees F) for shipping and storage and is only stable for 31 days when stored in the refrigerator.

The Army vaccine was tested with two shots, 28 days apart, and also with a third shot after six months.

Will the army vaccine work against different COVID-19 strains such as omcron and other coronaviruses?

SpFN has been tested in humans against the omicron variant, according to Modjarrad, and has shown positive results.

Moderna, Pfizer, and Johnson & Johnson’s vaccines target the specific virus – SARS-CoV-2 – that causes COVID-19. But army scientists have designed their vaccine to be “pan-coronavirus,” which means it could protect against future strains of COVID and other coronaviruses.

The Army’s SpFN vaccine is shaped like a 24-sided soccer ball. Scientists can attach the spikes of multiple coronavirus strains to each of the different faces, allowing them to customize the vaccine for any new COVID variants that arise.

“The accelerated emergence of human coronaviruses over the past two decades and the rise of SARS-CoV-2 variants, including the more recent omicron, underscore the continuing need for next-generation preventative vaccines that confer broad protection against human disease. coronavirus, “Modjarrad said in a statement last month. “Our strategy has been to develop a ‘pan-coronavirus’ vaccine technology that could potentially offer safe, effective and long-lasting protection against multiple coronavirus strains and species.”

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When will the Army’s COVID vaccine be available?

No date has been set. SpFN has successfully completed animal testing and concluded Phase 1 of human testing in December, but must still complete Phase 2 and 3 of human testing when its safety and efficacy are compared to current options of vaccine.

Normally, all three stages can take up to five years to complete, but the urgency of the COVID-19 pandemic is accelerating the process. Moderna, Pfizer, and Johnson & Johnson vaccines, for example, were tested, reviewed, and licensed by the Food and Drug Administration over the course of a year.

What happens next with the Army’s SpFN vaccine?

After the data from the Phase 1 human studies have been collected, analyzed and published, the Phase 2 and 3 studies will begin. So far there is very little information on when or how these trials will proceed or if the phases will overlap.

To follow the progress of the Army’s vaccine trials, visit the Vaccine Tracker SpFN COVID-19 provided by the United States Army Medical Research and Development Command.

For more information on COVID-19, here’s what we know about how the CDC defines being fully vaccinated, as save your vaccine card on your phone, And what we still don’t know about the virus after two years.

The information contained in this article is for educational and informational purposes only and is not intended as medical or health advice. Always consult a doctor or other qualified health care practitioner with any questions you may have about a medical condition or health goal.

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