The U.S. Army has developed a vaccine it says may provide protection against all COVID-19 variants.
The Walter Reed Army Institute of Research (WRAIR) developed a 24-sided object to which it attached various protein spikes from coronavirus variants. The vaccine has completed phase 1 trials, but researchers have yet to test it against the omicron variant, an Army spokesman told Fox News.
Researchers received a sample in early 2020 and focused efforts on developing a vaccine that would work against potential variants. Two years later, the initial results show promise.
The phase 1 human trials commenced April 2021. Scientists hailed the early data as encouraging and will publish final phase 1 study results once they complete the analysis.
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The theory behind the development of the Spike Ferritin Nanoparticle Platform (SpFN) vaccine posits that introducing multiple copies of spike proteins in an “ordered fashion” may prove key to creating a “potent and broad response.”
“This vaccine stands out in the COVID-19 vaccine landscape,” said Dr. Kayvon Modjarrad, director of the Emerging Infectious Diseases Brance at WRAIR. “The repetitive and ordered display of the coronavirus spike protein on a multi-faced nanoparticle may stimulate immunity in such a way as to translate into significantly broader protection.”
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Pre-clinical studies published in Science Translational Medicine indicate protection against the original strain of COVID-19 as well as variants that emerged from the original SARS-CoV-1 virus from 2002.
“It’s very exciting to get to this point for our entire team and I think for the entire Army as well,” Modjarrad told DefenseOne. “With Omicron, there’s no way really to escape this virus. You’re not going to be able to avoid it. So I think pretty soon either the whole world will be vaccinated or have been infected.”
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One of the chief points of interest concerns how the vaccine interacts with people who have already received a vaccination or had a previous infection.
WRAIR will work with a currently unnamed industry partner for a potential wider rollout, but that rollout likely won’t happen for a year, Dr. Marty Makary told Fox News host Shannon Bream.
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“You’re getting a lot of different levels of immunity, not just to the spike protein,” Makary explained. “It’s in phase one clinical trials. They just announced the results. So it’s about a year away from being out there.”
Fox News’ Jennifer Griffin contributed to this report.