While the full approval of the best-selling mRNA vaccines by the FDA remains elusive, the US is already working on giving the ‘Supersoldiers of Tomorrow’ a leg up by developing a “universal” COVID vaccine that will supposedly be effective against all future variants. The US Army is wrapping up early clinical trials of the new jab in the coming weeks.
Named SpFN, for Spike Ferritin Nanoparticle, the new jab has reportedly shown promise in non-human primate trials and early human trial results are expected to begin in December, according to a press release from the US Army Walter Reed Army Institute of Research.
The vaccine is intended to be a jumping off point for a forward-thinking “pan-SARS” strategy that aims to address the current pandemic and acts as a first line of defense against variants of concern and similar viruses that could emerge in the future.
“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,” said Dr. Kayvon Modjarrad, Director of the Emerging Infectious Diseases Branch at WRAIR, co-inventor of the vaccine and the US Army lead for SpFN. “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.”
SpFN entered Phase 1 human trials in April 2021. Early analyses, expected to conclude this month, will provide insights into whether SpFN’s potency and breadth, as demonstrated in preclinical trials, will carry over into humans.
The data will also help researchers compare SpFN’s immunity profile to those of other COVID vaccines already authorized for emergency use.
“This vaccine stands out in the COVID-19 vaccine landscape,” Modjarrad said. “The repetitive and ordered display of the coronavirus spike protein on a multi-faced nanoparticle may stimulate immunity in such a way as to translate into significantly broader protection.”
We imagine we’ll be hearing more about this very soon.