Vaxart says possible COVID-19 vaccine chosen for ‘Operation Warp Speed’

Vaxart Inc said on Friday it would test its oral experimental vaccine COVID-19 in monkeys infected with the new coronavirus in a study funded by the Trump administration’s vaccine acceleration program called “Operation Warp Speed.”

The shares of the US vaccine developer doubled to $ 12.53 in early operations, spreading a dizzying run on its stock price this year as investors gambled on drug developers going ahead with vaccines or treatments to stop the COVID-19 pandemic.

More than 100 vaccines are being tested worldwide against the virus, with only a handful in the human testing phase, including candidates from AstraZeneca Plc and Moderna Inc. Experts have suggested that clinical trials ensure that a vaccine be safe and effective it could take a minimum of 12 to 18 months.

Vaxart said its vaccine, an oral tablet, is easier to store and administer than injectables. In March, the company signed an agreement with Emergent BioSolutions Inc to help make the vaccine.

He said the study would be funded by “Operation Warp Speed,” a joint program of the United States Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and the Department of Defense that aims to accelerate the development of coronavirus vaccines, treatments and diagnostics. .

The Trump Administration had previously announced that it placed more than $ 2 billion behind Moderna, AstraZeneca and Johnson & Johnson’s vaccine candidates.

HHS did not immediately respond to Reuters’ request for comment.

(Report from Manas Mishra in Bangalore, Sherry Jacob-Phillips and Saumyadeb Chakrabarty Edition)