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Dr. Nita Patel, director of antibody discovery and vaccine development, examines a computer model showing the protein structure of a potential Covid-19 vaccine at Novavax laboratories in Gaithersburg, Maryland, March 20.
Dr. Nita Patel, director of antibody discovery and vaccine development, is examining a computer model showing the protein structure of a potential Covid-19 vaccine at Novavax laboratories in Gaithersburg, Maryland, on March 20. Andrew Caballero-Reynolds / AFP / Getty Images

Maryland biotechnology company Novavax announced Monday that it plans to enroll approximately 130 people with a new experimental vaccine against the new coronavirus.

It is the 10th company in the world to launch human trials of potential Covid-19 vaccines.

The first volunteer is scheduled to be vaccinated Monday evening in Australia, where the initial phase of the trial is taking place at two sites.

The vaccine, called NVX-CoV2373, has produced high levels of neutralizing antibodies in preclinical trials, according to a company statement released on Monday.

“These results provide strong evidence that the candidate vaccine will be highly immunogenic in humans, leading to protection against 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The announcement was made only in the statement, and the data was not peer reviewed or published in a medical journal.

The company says it expects to have preliminary safety and efficacy results in July. If the results are promising, the trial will proceed to its second phase, in which a larger group of participants in more than one country would be tested to assess the safety, efficacy and reduction capacity of Covid-19 disease. vaccine.

Meanwhile, Novavax plans to produce the vaccine in advance, so a supply will be available if it turns out to work. Manufacturing is accelerated thanks to $ 388 million from the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI), a global partnership between public, private and philanthropic organizations.

A company spokesperson told CNN that Novavax plans to deliver 100 million doses of the vaccine by the end of the year and one billion doses in 2021.

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