BALTIMORE (WJZ) — The worldwide race is on to find a COVID-19 vaccine, and Maryland is on the forefront of some of that research.
In the state, researchers at three companies are hard at work trying to create the first COVID-19 vaccine.
Among them is Emergent BioSolutions, a Global Life Sciences company headquartered in Gaithersburg, with facilities in Baltimore.
Senior vice president Syed Husain said the company has partnered with four fellow innovators, including Johnson & Johnson, in an effort to come up with a vaccine.
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“Maryland itself is play a significant role where we’re directly contributing from a developmental and manufacturing standpoint toward these vaccines,” Husain said.
The Gaithersburg-based company Novavax announced Tuesday it was getting $1.6 billion in federal money as part of Operation Warp Speed.
Gov. Larry Hogan congratulated the biotech company on Twitter.
“Since day one, I’ve said Maryland’s biohealth institutions would lead the charge to develop treatments and vaccines,” the governor tweeted.
I want to congratulate @Novavax of Gaithersburg for receiving the largest Operation Warp Speed grant yet to accelerate development of a #COVID19 vaccine. Since day one, I’ve said that Maryland’s biohealth institutions would lead the charge to develop treatments and vaccines. https://t.co/ZdqRxwEJnD
— Governor Larry Hogan (@GovLarryHogan) July 7, 2020
Novavax said it will use this funding for Phase 3 clinical trials to establish large-scale manufacturing and deliver 100 million doses of its vaccine candidate.
Lastly, the University of Maryland has also started testing experimental COVID-19 vaccines with funding from Pfizer.
No matter what company comes up with a vaccine, Husain said most importantly, it has to be safe and effective.
A timeline will be tied to how quickly a vaccine candidate can progress through the clinic and get regulatory approval.
Some are projecting results by the end of the year, while others think it’ll be closer to 2021.
“Certainly, a lot needs to happen for something in the clinic to ultimately progress to a patient with an approved product, but there’s certainly a lot of potential and a lot of activity that’s happening in Maryland,” Husain said.