U.S. narrows list of promising COVID-19 vaccine candidates to about 7U.S. narrows list of promising COVID-19 vaccine candidates to about 7
FILE PHOTO: Small bottles labeled with a “Vaccine COVID-19” sticker and a medical syringe are seen in this illustration

(Reuters) – U.S. President Donald Trump’s administration is narrowing its list of promising experimental coronavirus vaccines to about seven from 14, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services said on Tuesday.

The vaccines are being given government support and funding as part of the administration’s “Operation Warp Speed”, the White House program to accelerate coronavirus vaccine development.

The New York Times reported earlier this month that the White House had selected five companies, including Moderna Inc, AstraZeneca Plc and Pfizer Inc, as the most likely candidates to produce a vaccine for the novel coronavirus.

As drugmakers race to develop vaccines, tests and therapies for the disease, the United States is looking to secure manufacturing capacity under “Operation Warp Speed” announced in May.

The country is planning massive clinical trials involving 100,000 to 150,000 volunteers, with the goal of delivering an effective vaccine by the end of this year. To make that deadline, the government aims to start mid-stage testing in July.

(Reporting by Manas Mishra in Bengaluru; Editing by Shounak Dasgupta)