Army scientists want their COVID-19 vaccine to be a universal booster shot


Army scientists are testing whether the new COVID-19 vaccine candidate, which participated in a human trial this week, will serve as a universal booster shot of all other available coronavirus vaccines.

Almost 20% of Americans are already fully vaccinated against COVID-19 using one of three licensed vaccines.

However, public health experts and government officials anticipate the need for booster shots, and scientists at the Walter Reed Army Institute have said that vaccine candidates “mix” with other vaccine candidates to enhance protection. And we are investigating whether it can be extended.

In an interview with McClutch, Dr. Cavon Mojarad, director of Walter Reed’s Emerging Infectious Diseases Division, said the Walter Reed vaccine, called SpFN, is an immune response combined with other vaccines made using a variety of techniques. He said it could increase the duration and breadth of. On thursday.

“This was actually started before all areas began to consider it, but the rest of the SARS-CoV-2 vaccine development area also began to consider these issues,” Modjarrad said. Said using technology new coronavirus terminology.

“We believe this vaccine will serve as a stand-alone vaccine as well as a booster for other types of vaccines,” he said, referring to Walter Reed’s vaccine candidate.

Modjarrad added that mixing and matching different vaccines has long been an area of ​​”deep research” for vaccine researchers. However, it has never been implemented.

The two COVID-19 vaccines (manufactured by Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna), which are currently approved for emergency use by the Food and Drug Administration, use messenger RNA technology called mRNA to teach humans how to make proteins that provoke an immune response. Teach the cells of.

The third FDA-approved vaccine for emergency use, manufactured by Johnson & Johnson, uses viral vector technology that becomes a courier to provide cells with instructions for a harmless virus to prepare an immune response. I am. AstraZeneca, which also uses the technology, submitted data on the vaccine to the FDA for review.

Waterlead vaccines are different from those vaccines. It may be possible to inject off-the-shelf multifaceted proteins into the body to prepare the immune system against various variants and strains of coronavirus at once.

“Looking at other areas such as HIV and the flu, we learned a lot from research on these viruses,” says Modjarrad.

“And what we’ve seen is that starting with a vaccine like a gene vaccine (DNA, mRNA) or viral vector, then entering and boosting with protein will give a stronger response, not on the same platform, but more. Longer and broader responses, “he said.

Walter Reed scientists began clinical trials in humans on Tuesday after studying vaccine candidates in a variety of animals for several months. In the first two days, four volunteer participants were vaccinated. After the first observations of these individuals, the first phase of the study was expanded to 72, with the first results expected in midsummer.

Modjarrad’s team designed SpFN as a highly adaptable vaccine that can address multiple variants of the pandemic coronavirus at once and provide protection against past and future coronaviruses.

At the same time, the Army Institute is studying whether the vaccine candidate can be used as a stand-alone vaccine and booster, Modjarrad said.

“Because speed is everything, everything is done in parallel,” he said. “We are addressing the issue of this vaccine being used alone, as well as the issue of this vaccine being used as a booster.”

Modjarrad explained to Pentagon leaders and the Federal COVID-19 Response Team about a vaccine profile for safety and efficacy based on animal studies. He said they are enthusiastic about future discoveries from human clinical trials.

“I think this is a great week not only for us, but for the health of the U.S. military and the world, as this vaccine is not a repeat of other vaccines. We are always thinking about this vaccine for the future. We have positioned it as a next-generation product that we have, “says Modjarrad. “This is what we have been working on for the past year.”

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By Ana Banuelos

Ana is a blogger who is always fascinated with the technology and the amount of knowledge she can gather from the internet. She is trying to nerdify everyone around her with that same knowledge, through her writings.