U.S. Army Reports Progress on COVID-19 Vaccine That Fights All Variants
Animal studies have already shown new vaccine induces highly potent antibody responses against major variants
WEDNESDAY, Dec. 22, 2021 (HealthDay News) -- The U.S. Army says it has developed a COVID-19 vaccine it believes could work against any and all coronavirus variants, including omicron. Results from early human trials of the Spike Ferritin Nanoparticle (SpFN) COVID-19 vaccine are expected by the end of the month, the Army added.
Lab studies have already shown that the new vaccine protects monkeys from the original strain of COVID-19, and induces highly potent antibody responses against the major variants of concern that have emerged during the pandemic, claims a report published last week in the journal Science Translational Medicine. The upcoming results from phase I human trials, which started in April 2021 and aimed to include a total of 72 people, will show whether the effectiveness observed in monkeys carried over into humans, the researchers said.
"Our strategy has been to develop a 'pan-coronavirus' vaccine technology that could potentially offer safe, effective, and durable protection against multiple coronavirus strains and species," Kayvon Modjarrad, M.D., co-inventor of the vaccine and director of the Emerging Infectious Diseases Branch at the Walter Reed Army Institute of Research, said in an Army news release.
The SpFN vaccine uses a protein shaped like a soccer ball, according to an article on the national security news site Defense One. Each of the molecule's 24 different faces could carry a different spike protein drawn from unique COVID-19 variants, creating a broad immune response against the coronavirus, Defense One reports.
"This vaccine stands out in the COVID-19 vaccine landscape," Modjarrad said. "The repetitive and ordered display of the coronavirus spike protein on a multifaced nanoparticle may stimulate immunity in such a way as to translate into significantly broader protection."