U.S. pharmaceutical giant Johnson & Johnson says human testing of its experimental coronavirus vaccine will begin by September and says the vaccine could be available for emergency use by early next year.
The company said Monday that it has jointly committed more than $1 billion to develop and test a vaccine. It said if human trials of the vaccine are successful, it is prepared to produce more than 1 billion doses of the vaccine.
Johnson & Johnson said it anticipates the first batches of the vaccine would be ready for use under emergency situations by early 2021.
Company CEO Alex Gorsky told NBC’s “Today” program that early indications from the research show the experimental vaccine would likely be effective.
“We have a candidate that has a high degree of probability of being successful against the COVID-19 virus,” he said.
“We’ve got the production capabilities to be able to ramp up production of this in a relatively short period of time so it can become available,” he added.
Another U.S. company, Moderna Therapeutics of Cambridge, Massachusetts, in partnership with the U.S. National Institutes of Health, has already begun human trials of its version of a coronavirus vaccine.
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services said in a statement Monday that it is working with both Johnson & Johnson and Moderna to speed the development of a vaccine.
Scientists around the world, including in China where the virus began, are also working on a developing a vaccine against COVID-19.