Results from trials of a new Covid-19 vaccine being developed by the US military – described as a ‘moonshot’ – could come in days, an expert has said.
Preliminary results from the single-dose vaccine, which is believed to protect people against all variants of the coronavirus, have been hailed by Professor Luke O’Neill as “impressive”.
According to the professor of biochemistry at Trinity College Dublin, the results of the phase one human trial should be made public “overnight”.
Professor O’Neill said Newstalk Thursday: “It’s now the moon shot, they kinda call it, the United States is all over it.”
“Can we make a vaccine that will work against any variant of Covid-19? And indeed, all the animals that might jump again in the next pandemic.
“There’s a massive effort going on in the United States right now, trying to make what’s called a universal vaccine. That’s a great goal to have.”
The vaccine was first developed in America on animals, the test results which Professor O’Neill said were impressive.
“They took the RBD…and they stuck it on a nanoparticle, a very small particle, made of a thing called ferritin, peppered with loads of these RBDs,” he said.
“[It] got into monkeys and amazingly it protects against SARS, the original virus, SARS-CoV-2, Alpha, Beta, Delta, Omicron. He protected against all those of the monkeys.
“They’re in the middle of a phase one human trial – any day now, in fact, we’re going to get the data from that phase one trial soon.
“It’s very, very promising that this US military-derived vaccine could be the first universal vaccine against Covid-19.”
Speaking earlier this week, Prof O’Neill said the new Omicron XE variant – a mutation of the BA.1 and BA.2 strains – is 10-20% more transmissible than the original Omicron.
The first case of XE in Britain has a specimen date of January 19, 2022, according to the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA).
Prof O’Neill said on RTE Radio 1 earlier this week: ‘It’s like a game of cards and it keeps getting shuffled around.
“You know that an immune system can recognize the same cards, basically. So far the concern would be that a new set of cards might emerge, or some other type of card combination might emerge, and then we might have more problems, but for now, as I say, it’s is the same card game that is essentially reshuffled.
“Right now, vaccines stop serious disease against any variant so far, but again, we have to watch it.”