The US military’s “super vaccine” could protect against all variants of COVID. What do we know?

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Army COVID vaccine could protect against current and future strains of COVID, as well as other coronaviruses

Marcy Sanchez / US Army

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

White House chief medical officer Dr Anthony Fauci on Tuesday highlighted the government’s investment in a Covid-19 vaccine who could successfully fight all the variants.

Testifying before the Senate health committee on the federal response to new strains of COVID-19, Fauci said there was a concerted effort to develop “the next generation of vaccines, especially universal coronavirus vaccines – or at least the universal SARS COVID-2 vaccines – so we won’t run after the next variant [and] we will be able to have a vaccine capable of responding to every iteration of a variant. “

In December, the U.S. military announced that a “pan-coronavirus vaccine,” the spiked ferritin nanoparticle COVID-19 vaccine, aka SpFN, had completed phase 1 human trials with positive results.

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

SpFN has yet to undergo phase 2 and 3 human trials, however, to test its efficacy and safety compared to current treatments, Modjarrad said.

The military isn’t just targeting COVID-19: Scientists at Walter Reed are designing the vaccine to be suitable for all viruses in the coronavirus family, including SARS, a potentially fatal disease that has infected more than 8,000 people during its last major epidemic in 2003.

We’ll share what we know about the military’s COVID-19 vaccine, including how it works and when it might be available.

To learn more, here’s what we know about the omicron variant today and the changing definition of what it means to be “fully vaccinated” against COVID-19.

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

The three vaccines currently authorized for use in the United States take two approaches to prevent infection with COVID-19: the use of the 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 vaccine, or SpFN, takes a third approach, using a harmless part of the COVID-19 virus to boost the body’s defenses against COVID.

SpFN also has less restrictive storage and handling requirements than Moderna and Pfizer vaccines, allowing it to be used in a wider variety of situations. It can be stored between 36 and 46 degrees Fahrenheit for up to six months and at room temperature for up to a month, according to military scientists. 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 injections, 28 days apart, and also with a third injection after six months.

Will the army’s vaccine work against different strains of COVID-19 like omicron and other coronaviruses?

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

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

“The accelerated emergence of human coronaviruses over the past two decades and the increase in SARS-CoV-2 variants, including the most recently omicron, underscore the continued need for next-generation preventive vaccines that provide broad protection against coronavirus disease, ”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 several strains and species of coronavirus.”


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When will the military’s COVID vaccine be available?

No date has been set. SpFN successfully completed animal testing and completed Phase 1 human testing in December, but has yet to complete Phase 2 and 3 human testing, when its safety and efficacy is compared to options. current vaccines.

Normally, the completion of all three phases can take up to five years, but the emergency of the COVID-19 pandemic is speeding up the process. Moderna, Pfizer, and Johnson & Johnson vaccines, for example, have been tested, reviewed, and cleared by the Food and Drug Administration over a period of one year.

What happens next with the Army SpFN vaccine?

Once the data from the Phase 1 human trials is collected, analyzed and published, the Phase 2 and 3 trials will begin. There is very little information to date on when or how these trials will unfold or if the phases will overlap.

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

For more on COVID-19, here’s what we know about how the CDC defines being fully vaccinated, How? ‘Or’ What store your vaccination card on your phone, and what we still don’t know about the virus After two years.

The information in this article is for educational and informational purposes only and is not intended for health or medical advice. Always consult a physician or other qualified healthcare professional with any questions you may have about a health problem or health goals.

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