News & Media

WRAIR Continues Recruitment for COVID-19 Clinical Trial

Clinical trial volunteer (right) receives injection from nurse in personal protective equipment (left)
As the clinical trial for WRAIR’s unique COVID-19 vaccine enters its third month, volunteers are still needed. The vaccine, called spike ferritin nanoparticle (SpFN), offers a flexible approach to targeting multiple variants of SARS-COV-2 and potentially other coronaviruses as well. The phase 1 study is being conducted at WRAIR’s CTC and will enroll 72 healthy, adult volunteers ages 18-55. Volunteers must meet certain inclusion and exclusion criteria—most notably that they have never been infected with COVID-19 or received a COVID-19 vaccine. All volunteers will be financially compensated for their time. Ultimately, WRAIR hopes to transition its vaccine to protect not just from COVID-19 but from all coronavirus diseases, known and unknown, to end the current pandemic and prevent the next one from ever beginning.

Women Changing the Face of Science Leadership at WRAIR

Female Soldier in uniform standards in front of white-grey background
Throughout the month of March, WRAIR celebrates the women in and out of uniform who comprise, support and lead our institution. While some have given decades of service, others are just getting started in their careers. They are scientists, mentors and trailblazers, pushing the boundaries of science to develop new medical products to safeguard both Soldier and world health for a healthier, more equitable world.

WRAIR Minds - Resilience Podcast Hub

Soldier shooting weapon at a range

“WRAIR Minds” is the first WRAIR podcast, featuring mindfulness exercises to help improve Soldiers’ performance, attention, and well-being.  Interviews will showcase the work of mindfulness researchers, teachers and students, both in and out of the military.

Hosted by Capt. Thomas Nassif, the podcast stems from years of mindfulness research at WRAIR, which has found that mindfulness training and practice can offer mental, physical and performance benefits for Soldiers. 

Sleep Resources

Soldiers receive night fire missions in support of operations
Sleep is ammunition for the brain. All Soldiers need to be physically and psychologically strong and resilient. This is especially true of those Soldiers who operate at the “tip of the spear” as members of small teams in far-forward environments where the OPTEMPO is high, the margin for error is small, and the ability to access support functions (e.g., air support, evacuations, reinforcements) is lacking. The necessity for Soldier performance during nocturnal operations introduces an additional challenges for maintaining Soldier lethality. Ironically, although sleep is critical for sustaining military performance and effectiveness under such conditions, sleep loss is all but inevitable under such conditions. Sleep is also armor for the brain. Research shows that the more sleep that military personnel obtain, the better they perform and the less vulnerable they are to development of mental disorders like PTSD and depression. An emerging body of research also suggests that good sleep is linked to the body's ability to prevent and overcome infectious disease, further underscoring its importance to overall health.

Behavioral Health Resources for COVID-19

Army medical staff having a staff meeting in an ICU
As research at WRAIR progresses to prevent, detect and treat COVID-19 infection, it is also important to recognize the significant behavioral health toll brought upon by this crisis. WRAIR is working in concert with the U.S. Army Medical Research and Development Command as part of the whole of United States government response to overcome the disease. This impact can be felt in a wide range of diverse groups: medical care providers on the front lines, struggling to cope with the influx of new cases; leaders trying to maintain morale and productivity in dispersed teams; workers struggling to adapt to the new realities of teleworking from home or individuals concerned about the health and safety of themselves and their families amidst the outbreak. Building on decades of experience in the field of sleep and performance, psychiatry, neuroscience and more, WRAIR scientists developed a range of checklists and other resources to help support behavioral health and well-being.

Alone, Together: Coping with Isolation and COVID-19

Service Member working from home on their couch
The bonds we build between co-workers, family and friends are critical to high-performing teams. Yet working closely with others conflicts with the central tenet of preventing the COVID-19 pandemic: the concept of “social distancing.” Steps like keeping connected, looking out for others, using more than email or more can help preserve mental health as we take steps like social distancing, regularly washing hands for twenty seconds and getting a full night’s sleep to stay safe from COVID-19.

WRAIR Pivots to Combat COVID-19

scientist pours liquid out of flask in fume hood
WRAIR researchers are playing a key role in the ongoing COVID-19 response, building upon the Institute’s ability to rapidly respond to outbreaks on an accelerated timeline to develop diagnostics, vaccines and treatments. Since the beginning of the outbreak, WRAIR and U.S. Army Medical Research and Development Command personnel have been working to advance research efforts to prevent, diagnose and treat this latest threat to global health and force readiness.

Phone Application, 2B-Alert, Helps Plan Sleep for Maximum Performance

Soldiers receive night fire missions in support of operations
The high-quality, mentally tough Soldiers the Army requires must be able to operate in small, highly effective teams in far-forward environments, often without access to air support, evacuation and other capabilities. They must be able to remain lethal for extended periods of time otherwise they risk becoming a liability to themselves and their teammates. One of the most critical components of a maximized human performance is sleep—but fighting cannot reasonably be expected to stop to accommodate a full night’s sleep. The 2B-Alert app makes rapid, personalized recommendations around their sleep habits to support the far-forward Soldier and minimize the danger of sleep loss to themselves and their teammates.

WRAIR Celebrates 10 Years of Tracking Superbugs in MTFs

collage of four speakers at the MRSN anniversary event speaking on stage in front of a screen
On December 13th, the WRAIR hosted an event to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the MRSN, an infection control resource to military treatment facilities across the entire Military Health System. A global threat, the World Health Organization and the U.S. Military Infectious Diseases Threat Prioritization Panel have named MDR bacteria one of the most consequential infectious disease threats. The MRSN has significant clinical and research impacts, by helping to inform infection control and treatment practices in hospitals as well as providing bacterial samples to test novel antibacterial products.

World AIDS Day Event Highlights DOD Contributions in Fight Against HIV Pandemic

John Mascola poses with WRAIR Commander and Command Sergeant Major
The Walter Reed Army Institute of Research (WRAIR) hosted a World AIDS Day event Tuesday, Nov. 26, highlighting advances in DoD-led HIV research and celebrating the 10th anniversary of the Army-led RV144 HIV vaccine study. WRAIR’s Military HIV Research Program headed the RV144 “Thai study,” the first-ever – and only to-date – clinical trial to demonstrate an HIV vaccine regimen was safe and modestly effective in preventing HIV infection. The RV144 trial represented a massive undertaking for the Army and serves as a model of international and interagency collaboration.