Gates and C-19 bottle
© Reuters/Athit Perawongmetha/Arnd Wiegmann
Covid-19 vaccine bottle • Bill Gates
About 130 healthy volunteers were injected with a potential vaccine for the coronavirus at two sites in Australia, Novavax, a United States biotechnology company, announced on Monday.

The potential vaccine is in the first of a two-step phase, Novavax said. The company expects to have results from the clinical trials in July. President and Chief Executive Officer of Novavax Stanley C. Erck said in a statement:
"Administering our vaccine in the first participants of this clinical trial is a significant achievement, bringing us one step closer toward addressing the fundamental need for a vaccine in the fight against the global COVID‑19 pandemic. We look forward to sharing the clinical results in July and, if promising, quickly initiating the Phase 2 portion of the trial."
The second portion is expected to be conducted in multiple countries, including the United States, Novavax said. It would also assess immunity, safety and COVID‑19 disease reduction in a broader age range. In the first portion, the potential vaccine was provided to volunteers from 18 to 59 years of old.

The vaccine called, NVX‑CoV2373, emerged as the lead candidate following pre-clinical testing, Novavax said. The possible vaccine demonstrated "high immunogenicity and high levels of neutralizing antibodies," the company said.

The trial is being supported with funding from the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI). CEO of CEPI Dr. Richard Hatchett said in a statement:
"CEPI's priority in building our portfolio has been to focus on vaccine candidates with the potential to be developed at speed and scale and made globally accessible. Our investment in Novavax allows us to focus on manufacturing in parallel with the clinical development of the vaccine, so that if the vaccine is proven to be safe and effective, we can make doses available to those who need them without delay."
Novavax is confident the vaccine candidate will produce a high immune response in humans against the coronavirus. In announcing the first step of its trials on Monday, the company didn't place a timeline on producing a widespread dose for the global community.

Officials in the United States have consistently said a widespread vaccine wouldn't be available until December or January at the earliest.

A number of companies continue to work on a possible vaccine, including Johnson & Johnson and Moderna Inc.