A Soldier at Fort Benning, GA, prepares to take the new adenovirus vaccine, which is administered in tablet form. (Photo by Traci Vactor, MILVAX.)
The new adenovirus vaccine, which replaces an older version that has been out of production for more than a decade, was shipped to basic training sites in October, the U.S. Army Medical Research and Materiel Command (USAMRMC) announced.
Adenovirus infections cause approximately 15,000 illnesses per year in basic trainees, said Dr. Lawrence Lightner, USAMRMC Project Manager for Pharmaceutical Systems.
Every vaccine tablet has been delivered to the nine basic training sites in all branches of the U.S. military during the initial phase of fielding. Immunizations began at Fort Leonard Wood, MO and Fort Sill, OK, on Oct. 24. Use at the seven other basic training sites began shortly thereafter.
Harboring in close-quarter living conditions, such as those typically experienced by basic trainees, adenovirus infection may resemble the common cold, with symptoms such as fever, sore throat, cough, and upper respiratory congestion that may last up to several days. In rare cases, however, these symptoms may escalate and develop into pneumonia, which may be life-threatening in some instances.
“From this day forward, the work that we’ve done literally reaches into the gut of every military recruit during basic training, because adenovirus vaccine, administered orally, begins its work in the small intestine, where it starts the process of triggering immunity,” said Dr. Cliff Snyder, Product Manager for the vaccine.
The new vaccine, which is administered in tablet form, offers protection against two strains of the virus, Types 4 and 7. In clinical trials supported by the Army and the Navy among other organizations, scientists found the new vaccine provided 99.3 percent protection against febrile respiratory illnesses due to the adenovirus Type 4, while stimulating protective levels of antibodies against Type 7.
“Harboring in close-quarter living conditions, such as those typically experienced by basic trainees, adenovirus infection may resemble the common cold, with symptoms such as fever, sore throat, cough, and upper respiratory congestion that may last up to several days. In rare cases, however, these symptoms may escalate and develop into pneumonia, which may be life-threatening in some instances.”
“The DoD uses a just-in-time distribution concept for adenovirus vaccine, so the immunization sites do not hold a large inventory of adenovirus vaccine,” said Gerry LoSardo, Logistics Manager for the adenovirus vaccine program, who outlined the logistics plan. “This means that we rely on effective communications between the immunization sites, the distribution managers at the U.S. Army Medical Materiel Agency, the product management office, and the manufacturer. Naturally, we also rely on the capabilities of the commercial delivery service.”
Since the initiation of shipments in October, the manufacturer has shipped 66,600 doses to the nine basic training sites. There have been no missed deliveries and no failures to maintain the proper temperature of 2 to 8 degrees Celsius.
The USAMRMC has managed the research, development, and production of adenovirus vaccine in accordance with standard DoD acquisition processes; the program reached Milestone B in 2006 and Milestone C in 2008. The adenovirus vaccine program differs from many other acquisition efforts because of the critical impact of the federal regulator, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.
“The FDA licensed the adenovirus vaccine in March 2011, but it did not release sufficient quantities of vaccine doses for distribution until August 2011; that’s when we started our ‘60-day’ clock for finalizing the distribution plan, and that’s why we started shipments in October,” said Snyder.
The positive results regarding the vaccine’s effectiveness are good news to the relatives and friends of warfighters serving in the U.S. military, as well as the warfighters themselves.
- JEFFREY M. SOARES is a Communications Specialist for USAMRMC Public Affairs. He holds a B.S. in secondary education/English from the University of Scranton and an M.A. in English language and literature from the University of Maryland.
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