BioNTech, a German pharmaceutical company has begun testing a potential vaccine for the new coronavirus on patients who are approaching voluntarily.
BioNTech in collaboration with the US-based Pfizer announced that 12 participants of a clinical trial in Germany received doses of the vaccine candidate BNT162 since April 23, reported Al Jazeera.
They said in an announcement on Wednesday that, in the next step, it will begin increasing the dose of BNT162 in a trial involving about 200 participants aged 18 to 55.
The company is expecting to receive regulatory approval to begin trials in the United States soon.
Meanwhile, numerous pharmaceutical companies are racing to deliver a vaccine to impede the virus from spreading further which has caused more than 215,000 deaths worldwide and sickened at least three million people.
While a safe, effective vaccine is still more than a year away, researchers are rushing to repurpose existing drugs and non-drug therapies as well as testing promising experimental drugs that were already in clinical trials.
New drugs with support of new diagnostics, antibody tests, patient- and contact-tracing technologies, disease surveillance and other early-warning tools - indicate that the world will be cautiously prepared for the next pandemic, unlike this one.
As many as 100 potential COVID-19 candidate vaccines are now under development by biotech and research teams around the world, and at least five of these have gone into phase-1 of their clinical trial, known as preliminary human trials.
Scientists in the United Kingdom began clinical trials of a potential COVID-19 vaccine on April 23 as other vaccine developers across Europe stepped up work on experimental shots.
The team at the UK's Oxford University dosed the first volunteers in a trial of their vaccine - called "ChAdOx1 nCoV-19" - while Italy's ReiThera, Germany's Leukocare and Belgium's Univercells said they were working together on another potential shot and aimed to start trials in a few months.
The UK's GSK and France's Sanofi have announced a similar agreement to develop a COVID-19 vaccine, with trials starting in the second half of the year.