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 the Walter Reed Army Institute of Research’s unique COVID-19 vaccine enters its third month, volunteers are still needed. 

The vaccine, called spike ferritin nanoparticle (SpFN), stands out in the COVID-19 vaccine landscape. Scientists developed a nanoparticle vaccine, based on a ferritin platform, which offers a flexible approach to targeting multiple variants of SARS-COV-2 and potentially other coronaviruses as well.

Pre-clinical studies indicate that SpFN induces highly potent and broad neutralizing antibody responses against the virus that causes COVID-19 infection, as well as three major SARS-CoV-2 variants and SARS-CoV-1 virus.

The phase 1 study is being conducted at WRAIR’s Clinical Trials Center and will enroll 72 healthy, adult volunteers ages 18-55. Volunteers will be placed into one of three groups, each receiving a different dose or schedule of the vaccine. As of June 11th , the 24 individuals have participated in the trial. 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. A full list of inclusion criteria is available here

WRAIR has a long history of developing safe, effective vaccines, having been involved with the development or testing of over 50% of U.S. Food and Drug Administration-approved vaccines. 

“Even before recent COVID-19 variants were identified, our team was concerned about the emergence of new coronaviruses in human populations, a threat that has been accelerating in recent years” said Dr. Kayvon Modjarrad, director of the Emerging Infectious Diseases Branch at WRAIR who leads the Army’s COVID-19 vaccine research efforts and co-invented the vaccine with WRAIR structural biologist Dr. Gordon Joyce, an employee of the Henry M. Jackson Foundation for the Advancement of Military Medicine. “That’s why we need a vaccine like this: one that has potential to protect broadly and proactively against multiple coronavirus species and strains.

In addition to its focus on protecting against known and unknown COVID-19 variants, WRAIR’s vaccine also does not require extensive infrastructure to store and transport, remaining viable for extended periods of time in a refrigerator or even at ambient temperature. This advantage makes it ideal for resource poor settings. 

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. 

Have more questions or are interested in participating in the trial? Learn more on WRAIR’s website or contact a recruiter