Coronavirus: US Army set to unveil SpFN vaccine that works against any COVID-19 or SARS variant

  • 23/12/2021
Coronavirus: US Army set to unveil SpFN vaccine that works against any COVID-19 or SARS variant
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The US Army is expected to announce that its new vaccine works against any variant of COVID-19, including the hyper-transmissible Omicron strain, over the next few weeks.

The promising new jab, known as the Spike Ferritin Nanoparticle (SpFN) vaccine, comes after nearly two years of development from the Walter Reed Army Institute of Research.

The difference between this vaccine and existing ones is that it is said to be effective against all variants of COVID-19 and SARS viruses, with that being the focus for Walter Reed since its early stages of development.

"We decided to take a look at the long game rather than just only focusing on the original emergence of SARS," Dr Kayvon Modjarrad, director of Walter Reed's infectious diseases branch, told US national security news outlet Defense One.

"[We] 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."

The secret to SpFN's wide effectiveness is down to its "soccer ball-shaped protein with 24 faces", Defense One reports. The faces allowed researchers to attach the spikes of multiple COVID-19 strains on different faces of the protein.

Dr Modjarrad told Defense One the vaccine was a "very exciting" breakthrough.

The vaccine has already exhibited promising results, both in animal trials and the first phase of its human trials.

Walter Reed expects to announce that trials show it's had success fighting off Omicron - good news in the battle against a strain spreading like wildfire and prompting tighter restrictions across the globe.

A review of the phase 1 trial is still needed, as are phase 2 and 3 trials, before the vaccine is ready to be administered more widely.