Pharmaceutical giant Johnson & Johnson plans to begin human clinical trials of its Covid-19 vaccine by September with a goal of the first batches being made available for emergency use authorization by early next year, according to a company announcement released Monday.
Johnson & Johnson says it has been working on a vaccine since January and is partnering on the venture with the Biomedical Advance Research and Development Authority (BARDA), a division of the Department of Health and Human Services.
Johnson & Johnson and BARDA will commit $1 billion to fund vaccine research, development and clinical testing, the company said.
"The world is facing an urgent public health crisis and we are committed to doing our part to make a COVID-19 vaccine available and affordable globally as quickly as possible," Johnson & Johnson Chairman and CEO Alex Gorsky said in a news release.
Johnson & Johnson will also expand its global manufacturing capacity so it can quickly produce the vaccine if it is approved, the company said.
Johnson & Johnson isn't the only company racing to create a vaccine as the Covid-19 pandemic spreads like wildfire around the world.
US biotech firm Moderna shipped its vaccine to government researchers for testing in February and the first dose was administered to trial participants earlier this month, according to the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases.