The U.S. Army has developed a single vaccine that will protect against all COVID variants, including Omicron. Researchers at the Walter Reed Army Institute of Research plan to announce their vaccine in the coming weeks.
U.S. Army worked on a single vaccine against all COVID variants for two years
According to Defense One, the single vaccine developed by the U.S. Army to protect against all COVID variants is also effective against previous SARS viruses that have killed millions of people around the globe. Researchers at Walter Reed have been working on the vaccine for almost two years after receiving the first DNA sequencing of COVID-19 in early 2020.
Early in the research, the infectious diseases branch at Walter Reed decided to focus on creating a vaccine that would protect not only against the initial strain in existence at that time but also against all potential variants that could develop in the future. Animal trials on the Spike Ferritin Nanoparticle COVID-19 vaccine, or SpFN, were completed earlier this year with positive results.
The Phase One human trials tested it against other variants, including Omicron, and they were completed this month, again bringing positive results. Dr. Kayvon Modjarrad, Walter Reed’s infectious diseases director, told Defense One exclusively that they still need to conduct Phase Two and Three human trials.
What’s next for the vaccine?
Defense One explained that Walter Reed’s vaccine “uses a soccer ball-shaped protein with 24 faces,” which enables researchers to “attach the spikes of multiple coronavirus strains on different faces of the protein. The structure makes it different from the vaccines currently in use.
Dr. Modjarrad said it took longer than expected to complete the Phase One human trials because the lab had to test the vaccine on people who had not had COVID or one of the vaccines previously. He explained that growing rates of vaccination and the Delta and Omicron variants’ rapid spread made it challenging.