The Walter Reed Army Institute of Research is the largest biomedical research facility administered by the US Department of Defence and is located at Maryland. The achievement is the result of almost two years of work on the virus.
This is coming after the army lab received the first DNA sequencing of COVID-19 in early 2020 and decided to work on a vaccine that would fend off not only the present strain, but others too.
The Spike Ferritin Nanoparticle Covid-19 vaccine, or SpFN unlike other vaccines, utilizes a protein shaped like a soccer ball with 24 faces that allows scientists to attach spikes of various coronavirus strains.
Walter Reed’s Spike Ferritin Nanoparticle COVID-19 vaccine completed animal trials earlier this year with positive results. Defense One reported Phase 1 of human trials, which tested the vaccine against Omicron and the other variants, wrapped up this month, again with positive results that are undergoing final review, as confirmed by Dr. Kayvon Modjarrad, Director of Walter Reed’s infectious diseases branch.
Modjarrad said the vaccine’s human trials took longer than expected, because the lab needed to test the vaccine on subjects who had neither been vaccinated nor previously infected with COVID. Increasing vaccination rates and the rapid spread of the Delta and Omicron variants made that difficult.
“We decided to take a look at the long game rather than just only focusing on the original emergence of SARS, and instead understand that viruses mutate, there will be variants that emerge, future viruses that may emerge in terms of new species.
“Our platform and approach will equip people to be prepared for that.
“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.
“It’s very exciting to get to this point for our entire team and I think for the entire Army as well.”