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Science & Technology

The U.S. Army's new vaccine offers ‘broad protection’ against current and future COVID variants

army covid vaccine, covid vaccines, paxlovid

Rsearchers at Walter Reed Emerging Infectious Diseases Branch develop a new COVID-19 vaccine.

The number of average weekly COVID-19 cases in the U.S. has more than doubled since November 28 due to the spread of the new omicron variant. The increase has many worried that it’ll be another deadly winter in the U.S., especially for the unvaccinated.

President Biden had a dire warning for the unvaccinated this week saying they face a winter of "severe illness and death."

As our exhausted populace prepares to fight through another tough winter, there is good news on the horizon, courtesy of the U.S. Army. Recently published preclinical study results show that a new vaccine, known as the Spike Ferritin Nanoparticle (SpFN) COVID-19 developed by researchers at the Walter Reed Army Institute of Research, provides “a potent immune response” and “broad protection” against COVID-19 variants and other coronaviruses.

The vaccine was developed as part of a strategy to address the current variants as well as those that could emerge in the future.


via U.S. Army

“The accelerating emergence of human coronaviruses throughout the past two decades and the rise of SARS-CoV-2 variants, including most recently Omicron, underscore the continued need for next-generation preemptive vaccines that confer broad protection against coronavirus diseases,” Dr. Kayvon Modjarrad, Director of the Emerging Infectious Diseases Branch at WRAIR and co-inventor of the vaccine, told the U.S. Army. “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.”

If the vaccine is approved by the FDA, it could act as a one-size-fits-all shot against current and future variants.

The new vaccine will have to undergo Phase 2 and Phase 3 trials before it is approved for public use. The next step for researchers is to see how the new pan-coronavirus vaccine works on those who haven’t been vaccinated nor previously infected with 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.

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

News of the Army’s new vaccine comes as the FDA announced on Wednesday that it has approved a new anti-COVID pill by Pfizer. In clinical trials the Paxlovid treatment "reduced risk of hospitalization or death by 89% (within three days of symptom onset) and 88% (within five days of symptom onset) compared to placebo; no deaths compared to placebo in non-hospitalized, high-risk adults with COVID-19."

The Biden administration has paid Pfizer $5 billion for 10 million courses of the Paxlovid treatment and 65,000 courses of the treatment are expected to be delivered next week. According to The New York Times, Pfizer will be able to supply 200,000 courses of the treatment in January and 150,000 more in February.

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