Someday Soon We All Will Be Together, if the Fates Allow
December 22, 2021 4:15 PM   Subscribe

"Within weeks, scientists at the Walter Reed Army Institute of Research expect to announce that they have developed a vaccine that is effective against COVID-19 and all its variants, even Omicron, as well as previous SARS-origin viruses that have killed millions of people worldwide."

(As far as I can tell from the U.S. Army's website, Google News, etc., this is truthful, legitimate news. Please delete with my apologies if somehow I've misunderstood or missed something significant and it is quackery or not cause for hope.)
posted by MollyRealized (47 comments total) 34 users marked this as a favorite
 
seems a legit story, I counted 9 sources at a glance.
posted by clavdivs at 4:18 PM on December 22, 2021


When the news broke, I got to tell my team that we handle the finances for that research lab with our meager little hands and that this is why I went into government service.
posted by gwydapllew at 4:26 PM on December 22, 2021 [135 favorites]


(It is still in Phase 1 testing. But it's hopeful. I cried when I read the article today. Thank you for posting it.)
posted by gwydapllew at 4:29 PM on December 22, 2021 [11 favorites]


Walter Reed has already issued a correction/clarification about this piece.
posted by a box and a stick and a string and a bear at 4:31 PM on December 22, 2021 [8 favorites]


Oh yes please and thank you. Here’s hoping.
posted by penguin pie at 4:34 PM on December 22, 2021


That clarification is included in the article. They jumped on it pretty quickly.
posted by gwydapllew at 4:35 PM on December 22, 2021 [2 favorites]


Here's hoping the antivax GOP nutcases will like this vaccine, since it comes from military scientists, and not from stupid regular scientists.
posted by tzikeh at 4:37 PM on December 22, 2021 [33 favorites]


Gwydapllew, a small (and happy) correction: unless I misunderstand the article, it's successfully passed Phase 1, and is no longer in that phase.
posted by MollyRealized at 4:38 PM on December 22, 2021 [2 favorites]


My impression from this line:

Unlike existing vaccines, Walter Reed’s SpFN uses a soccer ball-shaped protein with 24 faces for its vaccine, which allows scientists to attach the spikes of multiple coronavirus strains on different faces of the protein.

Is that they've made a "platform" for delivering multiple spike proteins in one shot. I don't follow how it's going to be effective against variants that don't exist yet, and someone still has to develop the spike proteins for each new/existing variant (although that has been claimed to be easy). Nor does it seem particularly important to vaccinate against SARS1, the ancestral strain of covid, or the Alpha variant, which we're not likely to see again.

Would the vaccine be cheaper, more durable, more distributable? Maybe since it's not owned by large pharma?
posted by meowzilla at 4:49 PM on December 22, 2021 [9 favorites]


That clarification is included in the article.

Oops, sorry about the false alarm. I had the piece open from this morning and should have refreshed.
posted by a box and a stick and a string and a bear at 4:49 PM on December 22, 2021 [2 favorites]


Shit, it didn’t take me very long to become numb to optimistic news. That’s worrying.
posted by The Underpants Monster at 4:53 PM on December 22, 2021 [12 favorites]


Omicron Shows Signs of Milder Disease as Cases Rise
Researchers estimate the risk of hospitalization from the new variant is lower than with the Delta strain


I don't know
posted by The Power Nap at 5:23 PM on December 22, 2021 [2 favorites]


Here's hoping the antivax GOP nutcases will like this vaccine, since it comes from military scientists, and not from stupid regular scientists.

The key are the words Walter Reed. Their orange god was at Walter Reed (yes, hospital, not research institute, still...) so the researchers obviously took samples of his superior blood and created a super vaccine with it. So, of course they’ll flock to this one.
posted by Thorzdad at 5:24 PM on December 22, 2021 [13 favorites]


Some vaccines do fail in Phase I, so this is a positive. But a number of other protein subunit vaccines have gotten that far and not panned out (yet, anyway). C
Read back in Derek Lowe's series of vaccine roundups under "recombinant protein".

Novavax made it through! EU approved this week; the Phase I trials were in summer 2020, Phase III started later in 2020. So it took them about a year and a half from this point.
posted by away for regrooving at 5:32 PM on December 22, 2021 [4 favorites]


Here's hoping the antivax GOP nutcases will like this vaccine, since it comes from military scientists, and not from stupid regular scientists.

It’d be really comforting if all the assorted mutant strains of American reaction and political psychosis could be contained by Desert Storm-era hot takes.
posted by mph at 5:50 PM on December 22, 2021 [4 favorites]


Google is responsible for thousands if not tens of thousands, of covid cases. A whole cohort of people believe Fauci is profiteering off of vaccine sales, because of shoddy maintenance of their search engines. So I am glad Walter Reed came up with this and at the same time there is a vast cohort who have no faith in that route. I went to the web to see how folks would risk their lives for this belief and you could not get out of the gate before there were waves of references, including accusations by politicos, that this is true.
posted by Oyéah at 5:58 PM on December 22, 2021 [3 favorites]


wrt severity of omicron, https://coronavirus.data.gov.uk is a decent view I guess of where we'll be in a week or three (except for our unvaxxed masses, wtf knows what's going to happen to these geniuses).

People tested positive vs Patients admitted are the key curves to keep an eye on if you are so inclined.
posted by Heywood Mogroot III at 7:09 PM on December 22, 2021 [5 favorites]


Researchers estimate the risk of hospitalization from the new variant is lower than with the Delta strain

The problem is that because it is much more infectious your individual risk of severe complications has actually gone up — assuming the preliminary results hold up.

To use some made up numbers to illustrate the point. Suppose a disease has a 50% chance of hospitalizing someone who catches it; but the chance that you will get the sickness is only 2%. This means your individual risk is 1%. Now let’s says it’s 25% (half as likely to hospitalize a sick person); but I your chance of catching it is 20%. Your individual risk is now 5%.
posted by interogative mood at 7:32 PM on December 22, 2021 [19 favorites]


I so hope that this can be "the one" that we thought we had until delta variant ran us over like dogs on the freeway. I am ever so tired of being in lockdown, knowing that I cannot trust my fellow citizens to give a damn about themselves, much less me. What a pleasure it would be to just feel at ease out on the walking trail, on my bicycle or walking. I'll still wear a mask, might be I'll never stop that -- my understanding is that many countries in SE Asia are accustomed to wearing masks when shopping or on transit or just pretty much anywhere else; if they can do it, I can also. Plus it'll help with allergies, too.

This is great news, thx for posting.
posted by dancestoblue at 8:00 PM on December 22, 2021 [16 favorites]


It's in Phase I (in human subjects) now, beginning March this year. Twenty-four subjects have been enrolled. (It's tough now to find subjects who have been neither vaccinated nor infected.) [ clinicaltrials.gov, precisionvaccinations.com ] The results of an earlier pre-clinical study in non-human primates were published in Science five days ago. The immune responses look respectable. All the claims of broad-spectrum activity against much of the coronavirus family: that's all based on cells in petrie dishes. Promising, but a very long way to go.
posted by theoriginalkdawson at 8:08 PM on December 22, 2021 [2 favorites]


Until Then We All Will Muddle Through, Somehow....
posted by hippybear at 8:52 PM on December 22, 2021 [18 favorites]


> Walter Reed’s SpFN uses a soccer ball-shaped protein

yeah, not holding out hope for this breaking through to a certain segment of the population until they come up with a version that's shaped like a REAL sport like nascar or mma or something.
posted by 7segment at 9:20 PM on December 22, 2021 [11 favorites]


WRT the likelihood of its adoption by people who have refused any and every effective treatment and prevention measure thus far: look, I think that I've lived long enough that what might seem like cynicism in a younger person is merely hard-earned realism. They booed Trump when he announced that he'd gotten the booster. They cling to Thanatos as assiduously as any true believers to any god ever.
posted by Halloween Jack at 9:25 PM on December 22, 2021 [20 favorites]


theoriginalkdawson: "It's in Phase I (in human subjects) now, beginning March this year."

Unless were for some reason speaking of something entirely different, I believe you're mistaken.

From the article I posted: "Phase 1 of human trials, wrapped up this month, again with positive results that are undergoing final review, Dr. Kayvon Modjarrad, director of Walter Reed’s infectious diseases branch, said in an exclusive interview with Defense One on Tuesday. The new vaccine will still need to undergo phase 2 and phase 3 trials."

And your links don't support your statement: from your clinicaltrials.gov link, the study started in April 2021 and verification was in September. I also don't see anything contradicting that information on the other page.
posted by MollyRealized at 10:22 PM on December 22, 2021


Back in April, Science ran a detailed article on pqncoronavirus vaccines: https://www.science.org/content/article/vaccines-can-protect-against-many-coronaviruses-could-prevent-another-pandemic

Which I remembered from a post on Science's Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/p/CXbZmOxrb4p/
posted by amk at 10:23 PM on December 22, 2021 [2 favorites]


They booed Trump when he announced that he'd gotten the booster

It seems unethical to give him medical treatments he fought so hard to deny others. I hope he got a placebo.
posted by They sucked his brains out! at 11:26 PM on December 22, 2021 [7 favorites]


OK, so no. What is described in the article is a multi-valent subunit vaccine platform. You get relevant antigens from a range pathogens of interest and make a big ueber-antigen that you can then administer as a single shot, which is cool and useful (particularly because convincing people to have more injections is a public-health nightmare) but not magic. There is no reason you can't do the same with most vaccine platforms - Novovax, Moderna, and certainly dozens of less well known labs and companies, are all working on multi-antigen vaccines.
The Science article amk mentions above discusses where we are with this sort of thing quite well - we can vaccinate against multiple extant beta2-coronaviruses at once, and as we add more it's likely to generate more immunity against necessarily conserved epitopes that will more likely encompass future variants. We can use modern protein structure tools (physical and computational) to find both areas that provide good antigenicity and good inhibition of infection, and even guess what are likely to be invariant structures.
However we are not (AFAIK) in a place where we can look at a set of pathogen proteins and say "oh, look, here are the structures that are necessarily invariant, antigenic, and neutralising, and here is how we can induce the body to raise antibodies against them". Even if that is possible (and evolution and information theory would suggest it might not be) there are simply too many unknowns at present - we are only just making progress on the structure-from-sequence problem in the last few years, easy understanding of novel protein-protein interactions is still a way away...
Oh plus it's not just single protein-protein-antibody-immune-system interations: (and I know phys.org isn't exactly a Nature cite, but it's what I have and I miss sci-hub): alternate routes
The takeaway here is not that we're any more doomed than we were - we have really exciting new vaccine technologies, and also cool pharmacotherapies, we will get on top of SARS-COV2 in due course - but we are not in a place where we can just dismiss entire genera of pathogens in one fell swoop, sorry.
(On preview, yeah also, our existent tools would be much more effective if we solved our social problems.)
posted by memetoclast at 12:52 AM on December 23, 2021 [17 favorites]


It seems unethical to give him medical treatments he fought so hard to deny others.

Ha, you might like to broaden your perspective and then see if you can say that again.
posted by memetoclast at 2:28 AM on December 23, 2021 [1 favorite]


^
Why or how so? It seemed like a reasonable conclusion to me.
posted by eviemath at 3:39 AM on December 23, 2021 [3 favorites]


Why or how so? It seemed like a reasonable conclusion to me.

OK, so to make it clear in advance, I would also like DT to go away, and would not be particularly upset if the mechanism by which he did that was less than optimal for him.

However, the specific suggestion that because he worked to deny life-saving care to others is a reason to hope for him to die by the same processes is a... problematic... assertion for anyone with the wherewithal to post to this site. I can't speak to your or TSHBO's situations, but personally I got my 3rd C19 vaccine dose (free (at point of administration, at least)) on Tuesday last, and my kids (7 and 9) are going to get their first dose on January 12th. Meanwhile, someone else is going to be dying because they have no access to even a single dose of C19 vaccine, and their kids are going to be dying of cholera that could have been prevented by infrastructure works costing less than the money put into the approvals process of the booster doses in Australia alone.
It's Christmas, and while I'm an atheist I think the maxim attributed to Christ in John 8:7 is appropriate here - the system is unjust and Trump is a symptom of that (and a vile human, no argument), so before we go all anti-Kantian perhaps it's worth a moment's reflection.
posted by memetoclast at 4:19 AM on December 23, 2021 [6 favorites]


In the interest of all of this coming to an end, I would prefer as many people as possible to be vaccinated, even if they “fought so hard to deny others.”
posted by wachhundfisch at 4:31 AM on December 23, 2021 [9 favorites]


I thought we were talking about all the other fancy experimental treatments Trump got when he got COVID? And in a world where vaccine access is restricted (albeit totally artificially due to intellectual property laws and capitalism), where one person getting a vaccine does in fact mean that someone else does’t (along with the other health care inequities you mention, memetoclast), and where vaccination rates in the US are insufficient anyways (in no small part due to Trump himself), what’s the argument for Trump being more deserving of even just a COVID vaccine than eg. some migrant farm worker in the US who did’t have access to COVID vaccines at the time that Trump was getting his shots? Let alone of all the extra care he received that not even your average wealthy American has access to? Or for Trump getting a booster before most of the world has had the opportunity to get a first shot?
posted by eviemath at 5:30 AM on December 23, 2021


There is also a distinction between actively hoping Trump dies from COVID and passively not believing him to be deserving of more care than he has helped ensure is available to the least of our other fellow humans.
posted by eviemath at 5:37 AM on December 23, 2021 [2 favorites]


(And, wachhundfisch, Trump is already vaccinated and boostered - he was one of the first in line for both, in fact - and none of us have a time machine, so I took They sucked his brains out!‘s comment to be more of a commentary on the ethicality of the general situation than an actual, realistic desire? I could have been misinterpreting that. I personally would like to see sufficient vaccination levels worldwide to end this pandemic, but don’t find it fair or right that Trump gets to be at the front of the line for that.)
posted by eviemath at 5:53 AM on December 23, 2021 [5 favorites]


(I'll have one more go then I'm out of this thread)
DJT is pretty clearly a terrible person, and is a focal point for an anti-humanistic cult that most people here are rightly horrified by. However, while many here are most likely not such terrible people, and not contemporary symbols for modern fascism, we are largely complicit in benefiting from the world order. To suggest that DJT should not have received special treatment because of his place in this unjust order, while ignoring the special treatment received by oneself, is at best hypocritical. I don't have any suggestions (or at least any I am comfortable voicing) on how to remedy global injustice, but I feel a focus on individuals (and specifically individuals you find politically distasteful and who happen to be focal points for the political opposition) is most likely not constructive.
posted by memetoclast at 6:17 AM on December 23, 2021 [1 favorite]


Here's hoping the antivax GOP nutcases will like this vaccine, since it comes from military scientists, and not from stupid regular scientists.

No, no — if there is anything to be learned from the comments sections, it is that vaccines take a certain set amount of time to create, and turning the focus of essentially the entire medical research profession to one particular project will not increase the pace. A vaccine, you see, takes about twenty years of work. Now the similarities of COVID-19 to the SARS outbreak of 2003, just shy of nineteen years ago... well, let’s not dwell on that too much.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 6:41 AM on December 23, 2021 [3 favorites]


A vaccine, you see, takes about twenty years of work. Now the similarities of COVID-19 to the SARS outbreak of 2003, just shy of nineteen years ago... well, let’s not dwell on that too much.

I remember as a kid, asking a parent why we don't work harder to find treatments for the common cold, and getting an answer along the lines of, "there are lots of things that kill people and it would be a waste to focus on something that's a minor inconvenience".

I'm starting to wonder whether little me was right. Coronavirus makes up 15% of common colds, and maybe if more research had been done earlier we'd have better treatments or even broader vaccines before covid. And who knows? Maybe the next plague will be a mutated rhinovirus.

By way of analogy, sort of a broken windows policy for viruses. But as opposed to the policing theory, it might actually be effective.
posted by condour75 at 7:17 AM on December 23, 2021 [1 favorite]


away for regrooving: Novavax made it through! EU approved this week; the Phase I trials were in summer 2020, Phase III started later in 2020. So it took them about a year and a half from this point.

I don't know how I missed this, since I'm in the dang trial, but thanks for this comment. Now the EU thinks I'm vaccinated, yay!
posted by deludingmyself at 8:16 AM on December 23, 2021 [2 favorites]


Don’t know about you, but I haven’t been in a position of political power to make decisions about global vaccine equity issues, and have done some advocating for overall equity in health access. I feel pretty confident in differentiating myself - and, indeed, the vast majority of North Americans - from Trump on ethical grounds here. Also, while I have fortunately had the opportunity for two doses of mRNA vaccine, I am not yet eligible for a booster dose where I live, and won’t be until probably late January or early February, according to our current provincial booster roll-out schedule. So I’m certainly not equivalent to Trump in my access to either vaccines or COVID treatments (eg. monoclonal antibody treatment is quite restricted where I live), either. Maybe you’re making a couple too many assumptions or jumping to conclusions a little too quickly, memetoclast?
posted by eviemath at 8:56 AM on December 23, 2021 [4 favorites]


To suggest that DJT should not have received special treatment because of his place in this unjust order, while ignoring the special treatment received by oneself, is at best hypocritical.

Wow, that's a high horse you've got there. Trump personally lied, cheated, and stole to accede to the seat of power where he worked assiduously and knowingly to spread this disease and promote distrust of medical science; and his place in the "unjust order" is that of a rapacious hereditary slumlord who rejoices in the impoverishment and immiseration of anyone outside his family, and some within. Denying him medical care would be unethical, but hoping he suffers the results of his own actions is hardly hypocritical or immoral.
posted by nicwolff at 9:02 AM on December 23, 2021 [17 favorites]


Nobody here has the power to affect DJT either way so this derail is all 100% academic and doesn't affect anything.
posted by VTX at 9:16 AM on December 23, 2021 [9 favorites]


Agreed. A potentially productive focus would be on changing the rules that allow Congresspeople to keep their stock portfolios despite having the power to alter the value of their holdings, and maybe that perennial call that politicians should get paid minimum wage in whatever jurisdiction they have control of minimum wage in.
posted by eviemath at 9:39 AM on December 23, 2021 [1 favorite]


Mod note: Gentle nudge, this thread is about the pan-coronavirus vaccine.
posted by LobsterMitten (staff) at 9:40 AM on December 23, 2021 [11 favorites]


Anti-vaxxers have far too much of a sunk cost at this point to give in. They've been ignoring or outright booing Trump's efforts for a while now.

That said this Swiss Army knife of a vaccine has the potential to help out a lot of people who will need help and are willing to accept it. Here's hoping the trials go well.
posted by Tell Me No Lies at 12:38 PM on December 23, 2021 [1 favorite]


a while back a friend said of a mutual friend, an anti-vaxer. "I fear it's death before humiliation for that guy. He's never going to admit he was wrong."

It's since occurred to me that this applies to a lot of people in a lot of situations throughout history. You hear a lot about choosing the right hill to die on (or not). There are a lot of foolish hills out there.
posted by philip-random at 4:57 PM on December 23, 2021 [8 favorites]


I honestly don't know whether or not to actually believe this when I'm not seeing it in one of the big newspapers.
posted by jenfullmoon at 4:57 PM on December 23, 2021 [2 favorites]


They appear to be showing uncharacteristic restraint.

Walter Reed has been very clear in stating how preliminary all of this is.

So the big news organizations are not spreading it as news until it actually is news? That doesn't sound right. Dunno.
posted by Tell Me No Lies at 8:34 PM on December 23, 2021 [1 favorite]


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