The United States Army has developed a vaccine that will protect against Covid-19 and all variants, including Delta and Omicron. The new vaccine will also protect against strains that have not yet been identified.
The Defense One report stated:
“The achievement is the result of almost two years of work on the virus. The Army lab received its first DNA sequencing of the COVID-19 virus in early 2020. Very early on, Walter Reed’s infectious diseases branch decided to focus on making a vaccine that would work against not just the existing strain but all of its potential variants as well.”
The vaccine went through phase 1 trials in humans but still needs to go through phases 2 and 3. The vaccine was tested on Omicron and other variants in the human trials. The Department of Defense’s biomedical research facility completed animal trials with positive results earlier in the year.
Unlike the existing Covid-19 vaccines, this new vaccine uses a soccer-ball-shaped protein with 24 faces. This shape allows scientists to attach multiple spikes of the coronavirus strands onto different faces of the protein.
The first trials needed to be tested on people who had not previously been vaccinated or had the previous infection. These factors made the trials take longer than expected. Dr. Kayvon Modjarrad said, “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.”
The next step is seeing how the vaccine reacts with people who have been vaccinated or been infected. Walter Reed and an unnamed partner are working on the upcoming wider rollout. Almost all of the 2,500 staffers at Walter Reed played a role in developing the new 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 told the outlet. “Our platform and approach will equip people to be prepared for that.”
This news comes on the heels of Biden’s announcement to mail 500 million at-home Covid tests and ramp up vaccinations amidst Omicron spreading.