U.S. Army Medical Research and Development (USAMRDC) announce the commencement of Phase 1 clinical trials soon for a novel vaccine designed to take on SARS-CoV-2, the virus behind the pandemic. First delivered via a press release on Oct. 14, Dr. Kayvon Modjarrad, Director of Emerging Infectious Diseases at USAMRDC’s Walter Reed Army Institute of Research (WRAIR), reports encouragement about this particular approach for this internally developed vaccine.
Officially called “spike ferritin nanoparticle” or “SpFN,” the vaccine candidate employs ferritin, a protein found in almost all living organisms, reports Ramin Khalili, writing for the U.S. Army news site. With this input to help achieve the intended purpose, WRAIR scientists seek to block the COVID-19 infection by “attaching a certain type of spike protein to a polymerized version of ferritin.” Testing has already commenced at least from a preclinical research basis.
Dr. Modjarrad commented on the process of developing this vaccine candidate, “The results we’re seeing and the methods that are being applied to our vaccine in the animal studies are showing […] consistent results from the methodology [so] that we can benchmark it against the other vaccine candidates.”
Announcement at Event
The Army News press release shared that the recent announcement was made at an annual conference, virtual this year, called the Association of the United States Army (AUSA) event. Speakers included Lt. Gen. R. Scott Dingle, U.S. Army Surgeon General and Commanding General of the U.S. Army Medical Command (AMC), and Mr. John Resta, Director of the U.S. Army Public Health Center.
U.S. Army Response to COVID-19
During the pandemic, U.S. Army scientists at WRAIR commenced the ongoing development of several vaccine prototype candidates capitalizing on a platform previously tested in January. There has been a fast and furious attempt to identify the vaccine strain with the strongest immune response to the SARS-CoV-2 virus. Once potential candidates were identified, they were sent to USARMDC’s U.S. Army Institute of Infectious Diseases (USAMRIID) for large animal efficacy testing, reports Mr. Khalili.
Importantly, Modjarrad shared during the press briefing that Army and other DOD subject matter experts, including himself, were mobilized to offer, advise, and counsel to other Operation Warp Speed vaccine development efforts.
Dr. Kayvon Modjarrad, Director of Emerging Infectious Diseases at USAMRDC’s Walter Reed Army Institute of Research (WRAIR).
Call to Action: TrialSite will track any public updates with SpFN while dedicated scientists working under USARMDC pursue candidates for future coronaviruses.