Paul-Ehrlich-Institut (PEI), Germany's Federal Institute for Vaccines and Biomedicines, has approved the third clinical trial of a potential COVID-19 vaccine.
"Trials on vaccine candidates in humans are a significant step in the direction of authorizing safe and efficacious vaccines against COVID-19," PEI noted.
The vaccine candidate was developed by the German Center for Infection Research (DZIF) and the pharmaceutical company IDT Biologika.
During the Phase-1 trial, 30 healthy adult volunteers between 18 and 55 years would receive two vaccinations at a four-week interval, according to PEI.
The candidate is a vector vaccine for which the genetic information for a surface protein of SARS-CoV-2 is built into a smallpox virus, according to PEI.
The vaccine against the smallpox virus had already been developed more than 30 years ago at the Ludwig-Maximilians-University Munich (LMU).
The vector could not replicate in the body of the vaccinated person, but the genetic information introduced could simulate an infection and trigger the production of COVID-19 antibodies and immune cells.
The German government launched a special funding program to accelerate research and development of a COVID-19 vaccine, with up to 750 million euros (878 million U.S. dollars).
The clinical trial of the vaccine candidate by IDT Biologika and DZIF is one of three trials currently conducted by German companies in the fight against COVID-19.
The pharmaceutical companies BioNTech and CureVac are already conducting studies in advanced phases in trials on humans.