Novavax to launch human trial for new coronavirus vaccine

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(Reuters) – Novavax Inc. said Wednesday it has identified a new candidate candidate for the coronavirus vaccine and will begin human trials in mid-May.

The Maryland advanced biotechnology company said its adjuvant Matrix-M would be used with the candidate vaccine – NVX-CoV2373 – to improve immune responses.

Adjuvants are primarily used to allow a vaccine to induce a strong immune response, including increased production of antibodies and more durable protection against viral and bacterial infections.

Novavax said preliminary results for the test’s immunogenicity and safety were expected in July.

He joins at least a dozen other drug manufacturers working on vaccines, antivirals and other treatments to help people infected with the rapidly spreading respiratory virus, with some antivirals already being used in the trials.

Long-awaited data for an experimental antiviral drug Gilead Sciences Inc. is expected later this month.

Analysts are also expecting short-term results for products already approved for other conditions by companies such as Roche Holding and Regeneron Pharmaceuticals Inc.

While experts believe that an approved vaccine could be at least a year away, progress towards treatments that benefit certain patients with COVID-19 could help investors assess when the epidemic could be brought under control and some economic activity may resume.

Studies are also underway for hydroxychloroquine, a decades-old malaria drug that has been used by doctors for COVID-19, despite disagreements over its effectiveness.

More than 1.34 million people have been reported infected with the coronavirus worldwide and 76,043 have died, according to a Reuters count.

(Report by Noor Zainab Hussain and Saumya Sibi Joseph in Bengaluru; edited by Peter Cooney)

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