Researchers at the Maryland-based facility expect to officially declare the completion of the vaccine in the following weeks, according to Defense One.
News of the new super-vaccine comes as the most delinquent COVID variant, Omicron, drives a new eruption in cases across the U.S., only weeks after it was first spotted in a California COVID patient on December 1. It now accounts for 73 percent of all diagnoses across the nation, with the figure as high as 90 percent in states including New York and New Jersey.
The Army started working on the Spike Ferritin Nanoparticle COVID-19 vaccine (SpFN) in early 2020, with an ultimate release date likely to emerge whenever the Army submits its trial outcomes to the Food and Drug Administration. It remains unclear whether SpFN will be a single or multiple-shot vaccine.
They worked to create a vaccine that would defend against all existing and potential variants of the viruses from the start.
The lab completed animal trials earlier this year with positive results before being authorized for Phase 1 of human trials in April 2021.
Dr. Kayvon Modjarrad, director of Walter Reed's infectious diseases branch, confirmed to Defense One that Phase 1 successfully finished testing against Omicron and other living variants earlier this month.
"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 announced.
"It's very exciting to get to this point for our entire team and I think for the entire Army as well," he went on.
Phase 1 tested the vaccine on human subjects who had neither been vaccinated nor beforehand 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.
"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 stated.
Walter Reed is working with an unnamed industry partner for the next rollout of the vaccine.