Novavax, an American biotech company, on Monday announced that it has started the phase 1/2  human trial of Covid-19 vaccine, joining a handful of candidates that are currently being tested on humans globally. The trial aims to assess whether the COVID-19 vaccine candidate, NVX‑CoV2373, is safe and generates an immune response in people. It is a vaccine engineer

Nearly dozen experimental vaccines are in early stages of testing or poised to start, mostly in China, the US and Europe for Covid-19, which has infected more than 5.49million people worldwide and killed 346,232.

The Maryland-based late-stage biotechnology company in April said it identified the candidate, NVX-CoV2373, with which it planned to use its Matrix-M adjuvant to enhance immune responses.

Adjuvants are mainly used to make vaccines induce a strong immune response, including through the greater production of antibodies, and provide longer-lasting protection against viral and bacterial infection.

Novavax said it expects preliminary immunogenicity and safety results from the trial in July.

As of May 24, there were at least 10 vaccines in human trials, according to the World Health Organization (WHO).

CanSino from China has a non-replicating viral vector vaccine and there are inactivated vaccines from Sinovac, Wuhan Institute of Biological Products and Beijing Institute of Biological Products.

There’s a non-replicating viral vector vaccine from Oxford University and AstraZeneca (UK) and protein subunit vaccine from Novavax (US). RNA vaccine from Moderna and BioNTech and Pfizer (Germany/USA) and DNA vaccine from Inovio are also among those in the list.

Novavax human trial

Dr. Gregory Glenn said, Novavax’s research chief, said the company has begun the first phase of the trial in which 131 volunteers in the cities of Melbourne and Brisbane will test the safety of the vaccine and look for early signs of the vaccine’s effectiveness.

“We are in parallel making doses, making vaccine in anticipation that we’ll be able to show it’s working and be able to start deploying it by the end of this year,” Glenn told a virtual press conference.

Two other companies, Moderna and BioNTech, in a partnership with Pfizer, have already begun human trial of the Covid-19 vaccine.