US military tests universal vaccine that could target all variants of coronavirus

The US military is completing the first clinical trials of a vaccine which, it hopes, will target all existing variants of the coronavirus. Called SpFN (Spike Ferritin Nanoparticle), this vaccine has shown promise in trials on primates and the first results of human trials are expected “this month”, according to a release from U.S. Army Research Institute Walter Reed press released Thursday.

The vaccine could also help protect against coronaviruses other than Covid -19, this which could give hope in the face of future pandemics. The vaccine is designed on a new platform called a “self-assembled protein nanoparticle”. Unlike most vaccines currently available, which use mRNA to trigger the immune system, this vaccine would work by injecting a molecule that looks a bit like a soccer ball into 24 faces, according to Defense One .

To read also – Two doses of Pfizer vaccine protect in 54% of cases severe Omicron variant, according to a study

Each side of the “balloon” would carry a bit of the spike protein which can trigger the body’s protective immune response. Scientists can thus fix the peaks of several strains of coronavirus on different sides of the “balloon”, so that the body could protect itself against several variants at once, instead of having to take a separate dose for each variant.

The preclinical results are promising according to the army

The first results obtained in primates suggest that the vaccine could work against Covid variants – 12 and against other coronaviruses, the military said.

According to a study published Thursday in the peer-reviewed journal Science Translational Medicine , SpFN protected primates against disease caused by the original variant of the Covid coronavirus – 19. Two doses administered in 24 days interval also elicited strong immune responses against the Alpha, Beta, Gamma and Delta variants.

The results of the very first clinical trials of SpFN in humans, called phase 1, should be released “this month,” the military said in the press release.

Develop a vaccine against the next pandemic

In primates, SpFN has also been able to trigger a strong immune response against SARS-CoV-1, a relative of the Covid-coronavirus 19 responsible for SARS epidemic which killed 70 people in 2002 and 2003.

The hope is that this injection could constitute a effective “pan-coronavirus” vaccine, which could target all kinds of coronavirus.

The military isn’t the only institute designing vaccines against pan-coronavirus, as previously reported Insider . Such a vaccine could also be useful in preventing future pandemics, which are expected to be caused by other types of coronavirus.

“The accelerated emergence of human coronaviruses over the past two decades and the emergence of SARS-CoV-2 variants, the most recent of which is Omicron, underscore the need for next-generation preventive vaccines that provide broad protection against coronavirus disease, “Dr Kayvon said in the statement. Modjarrad, director of the branch of emerging infectious diseases at WRAIR, co-inventor of the vaccine and head of SpFN for the US military.

Original version: Marianne Guenot / Insider

Also read – WHO gives the green light to Novavax’s anti-Covid vaccine, on 12 e approved urgently

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