OPINION: This article contains commentary which may reflect the author's opinion
Scientists at Walter Reed Army Institute of Research believe they have come up with a vaccine that is effective against every COVID and SARS variant known to man.
Researchers are expected to make an announcement about the development within a few weeks.
The creation of the vaccine comes as the new Omicron variant is spreading like wildfire throughout the US and the world. Omicron first appeared in California earlier this month. It is the leading variant, accounting for 73% of all cases.
The first Omicron death in the US was confirmed on Monday. A Houston man in his 50s who had previously contracted COVID and who was unvaccinated became infected for a second time and succumbed to the disease which originated in China.
According to the Daily Mail:
The Army began working on the Spike Ferritin Nanoparticle COVID-19 vaccine (SpFN) in early 2020, with a final release date likely to emerge whenever the Army submits its trial results to the Food and Drug Administration. It also remains unclear whether SpFN will be a single or multiple-shot vaccine.
From the beginning, they worked to create a vaccine that would protect against all existing and potential variants of the viruses.
The lab completed animal trials earlier this year with positive results before being approved for Phase 1 of human trials in April 2021.
The Omicron variant is so infectious, many scientists believe almost everyone in the world will catch it at some point. The earliest reports indicate that Omicron is not nearly as deadly as the Delta variant, but more studies are needed to confirm this.
The Mail continues:
Dr. Kayvon Modjarrad, director of Walter Reed’s infectious diseases branch, confirmed to Defense One that Phase 1 successfully finished earlier this month testing against Omicron and other existing variants. ‘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,’ Modjarrad said.
Omicron spreads three to five times as fast as the Delta variant, scientists estimate. Preliminary data suggests that, while more infectious, Omicron is far less likely to cause severe illness than the previous dominant strain, Delta.
Results showed that the SpFN vaccine creates both a strong immune response and broad protection against multiple COVID and SARS variants.
‘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,’ Modjarrad said.
‘It’s very exciting to get to this point for our entire team and I think for the entire Army as well,’ he continued.
Phase 1 tested the vaccine on human subjects who had neither been vaccinated nor previously infected with COVID. Next, the vaccine will need to be tested on human subjects who have been vaccinated or previously tested positive for the virus.
Military vaccinations are said to date back to the time of George Washington. Washington ordered that all troops be inoculated against smallpox. Back then, there was no “vaccine” for smallpox. A procedure called variolation where patients were infected with “pustules of patients with a mild form of the disease,” according to Newsweek.
In 1998, the Department of Defense made it mandatory for service members to get an Anthrax vaccine if they were serving in areas of the world where attacks with “weaponized” Anthrax were more likely.
Some who were serving in the military at that time questioned the safety of the Anthrax vaccine and the mandate was ended in 2003 after a legal challenge. A federal judge ruled that the military could not administer a vaccine without full FDA approval. The mandate was halted again after the judge said the FDA hadn’t followed proper procedures but began again after more approvals were issued.
Thousands of active duty service members have refused Joe Biden’s COVID vaccine mandate as of this month. Approximately 46,000 members of the military have not complied as of December 7th, according to NBC news. Those who fail to comply may be kicked out of the military under Biden’s rules.