Maryland-based biotechnology company Novavax announced plans Monday to begin enrolling approximately 130 people with a new experimental vaccine against the novel coronavirus.
It’s the 10th company worldwide to start human trials of potential vaccines against Covid-19.
The first volunteer is expected to be vaccinated Monday evening in Australia, where the initial phase of the trial is being conducted at two sites.
The vaccine, called NVX‑CoV2373, produced high levels of neutralizing antibodies in pre-clinical testing, according to a company statement issued Monday.
"These results provide strong evidence that the vaccine candidate will be highly immunogenic in humans, leading to protection from COVID‑19 and thus helping to control the spread of this disease," the statement said.
The announcement was made only in the statement, and the data has not been peer-reviewed or published in a medical journal.
The company says it expects to have preliminary safety and effectiveness results in July. If the results are promising, the trial will proceed into its second phase, in which a larger group of participants in multiple countries would be tested to evaluate the safety, effectiveness and Covid-19 disease reduction capacity of the vaccine.
Meanwhile, Novavax plans to produce the vaccine ahead of time, so a supply will be available if it is proven to work. The manufacturing is being accelerated with $388 million from the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI), a global partnership among public, private and philanthropic organizations.
A company spokesperson tells CNN Novavax expects to deliver 100 million doses of the vaccine by the end of the year, and a billion doses in 2021.