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US Army has new COVID vaccine that works against all variants, researchers say

U.S. Army Soldiers draw and prepare vaccines at the Atlanta Community Vaccination Center in the Mercedes-Benz Stadium, March 26, 2021. (U.S. Army photo by Spc. Robert P Wormley III)
December 22, 2021

The United States Army has created a revolutionary single-dose COVID-19 vaccine that researchers say will be revealed within weeks.

According to a new Defense One report on Tuesday, Walter Reed Army Institute of Research scientists are expected to announce a newly-developed vaccine that works against all variants of COVID-19, including Omicron, in addition to other SARS viruses.

The Army has reportedly been working on the vaccine since the virus first appeared nearly two years ago, receiving its first DNA sequencing of COVID-19 in early 2020. The infectious disease branch of Walter Reed determined that the vaccine must not only work against the existing virus, but all variants, too.

Dr. Kayvon Modjarrad told Defense One that Walter Reed’s Spike Ferritin Nanoparticle COVID-19 vaccine completed animal trials in early 2021 with optimistic outcomes. The first phase of human trials – finished in December – had positive results. After final review, the vaccine will still need to go through two more human trial phases.

“It’s very exciting to get to this point for our entire team and I think for the entire Army as well,” Modjarrad said.

The Army’s vaccine apparently stands apart from existing shots because it uses a soccer ball-shaped protein with 24 sides, allowing scientists to attach multiple variants of the virus.

Human trials are taking longer than anticipated because Walter Reed needed to test on individuals who had not received other vaccines or previously contracted COVID, the doctor said.

Increased vaccination rates and the appearance of the Omicron variant have added to that difficulty.

“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,” Modjarrad added.

The Army is working to determine if the new vaccine will work for people who were already vaccinated or who have previously had COVID-19.

“We need to evaluate it in the real-world setting and try to understand how does the vaccine perform in much larger numbers of individuals who have already been vaccinated with something else initially…or already been sick,” Modjarrad said.

Modjarrad said almost all of Walter Reed’s personnel have had a hand in developing the vaccine.

“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,” he said. “Our platform and approach will equip people to be prepared for that.”