A US biotechnology company began injecting a candidate vaccine to counter the emerging coronavirus, in people in Australia, on Tuesday, hoping to officially launch it later this year.

Paul Griffin, an infectious disease expert with Australian network "Nucleus", said the experiment began with the injection of 6 volunteers with a possible vaccine in Melbourne, Tuesday.

Novavax will inject 131 volunteers in the first phase of the experiment, to test the safety of the vaccine and look for signs of its efficacy, said Dr. Gregory Glen, head of research at the company.

Nearly 12 experimental vaccines against the virus are still in the early stages of testing or about to start, mostly in China, the United States, and Europe, but it is not clear that any of them will prove safe and effective.

But many companies operate in different ways, and manufacture vaccines using various technologies, increasing the chances of at least one approach succeeding.

"We are preparing parallel doses, making the vaccine in anticipation that we will be able to show that it is effective, and we can start spreading it by the end of this year," Glenn said during a press conference at the company's headquarters in Melbourne.

Animal testing showed vaccine efficacy at low doses.

Glenn said "Novafax" could manufacture at least 100 million doses this year, and 1.5 billion doses in 2021.

He explained that the manufacture of the vaccine, which was dubbed "NVX-CoV 2373", came after 388 million dollars were allocated by a Korean alliance to devise a vaccine since last March.

Novavax said the results of the first phase of clinical trials are expected to be announced in Melbourne and Brisbane next July.

Thousands of volunteers will participate in several countries in the second phase.

Source agencies

By ... Nadeemy Haded

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