Johnson & Johnson said on Wednesday that human testing of its potential COVID-19 vaccine would begin in the second half of July, two months ahead of schedule, as drug makers are racing to develop a shot for fatal respiratory disease.
The company has already signed contracts with the U.S. government to create enough production capacity to produce more than 1 billion doses of its vaccine by 2021.
There are currently no approved treatments or vaccines for COVID-19, the disease caused by the new coronavirus that has killed more than 4,000,000 people worldwide.
The J & J study tested the vaccine against a placebo and evaluated the safety and immune response of the shot in 1,045 healthy people aged 18 to 55 and in those aged 65 and over. The process will take place in the US and Belgium.
The U.S. biotechnology Moderna Inc is a leader in the development of COVID-19 vaccines and has started testing its candidate in an interim study that will involve 600 patients. The company expects late-stage testing to begin in July.
AstraZeneca, Sanofi, Pfizer and GlaxoSmithKline are all in different stages of development of their vaccine candidates.
Around 10 coronavirus vaccines are currently being tested on humans, and experts have predicted that a safe and effective vaccine could take 12 to 18 months from the start of development.
(Except for the headline, this story was not edited by NDTV staff and published from a syndicated feed.)