Drugmaker Pfizer on Monday became the second drugmaker to announce it had begun phase 3 testing of a vaccine to prevent the spread of coronavirus.
CNBC reported that the company, along with German biotech company BioNTech, announced the beginning of human trials involving 30,000 patients in 39 U.S. states and elsewhere around the world.
“Many steps have been taken towards this important milestone and we would like to thank all those involved for their extraordinary commitment,” said Ugur Sahin, CEO of BioNTech, according to CNBC.
The COVID-19 trials, he added, reflects the company’s “primary goal to bring a well-tolerated, highly effective vaccine to the market as quickly as possible, while we will continue to evaluate our other vaccine candidates as part of a differentiated COVID-19 vaccine portfolio.”
The two companies received nearly $2 billion in funding from the U.S. government for the vaccine’s development and production under Operation Warp Speed, a partnership between a number of top health authorities in the U.S. including the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS).
News of Pfizer and BioNTech’s decision to begin human trials closely follows the announcement earlier Monday of the launch of a phase 3 trials of a vaccine developed by drugmaker Moderna and the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. That study will also enroll about 30,000 people.
About 25 vaccines for the coronavirus are in the clinical testing phase around the world, according to the World Health Organization. The coronavirus pandemic has so far infected more than 4.2 million Americans and more than 16 million globally.