Inovio Pharmaceuticals (INO 0.25%) has been moving fast in the race to develop a vaccine for COVID-19. The company claimed it had created a potential vaccine for the rapidly spreading coronavirus on Jan. 10, just three hours after Chinese researchers publicly released the genetic sequence of SARS-CoV-2 the virus that causes the illness. Now, it's starting human clinical trials for that potential vaccine, INO-4800. 

The trial will involve up to 40 healthy adult volunteers, each of whom will receive two doses of INO-4800 four weeks apart. The goals of the phase 1 trial are to test the vaccine's safety and its immunogenicity --i.e., its ability to trigger an immune response in the body. Inovio expects initial data from this trial by late summer, and plans to move on to phase 2 clinical trials -- which will test INO-4800's efficacy -- as soon as possible.

Microscopic view of Coronavirus cells.

Image Source: Getty Images.

Other companies are also making headway in their efforts to develop a vaccine for COVID-19. For instance, pharma giant Johnson & Johnson (JNJ 0.66%) recently announced that it would initiate human clinical trials for its investigational COVID-19 vaccine by September. Moderna (MRNA -0.74%) arguably remains the leader in this race. The National Institutes of Health (NIH) is currently leading a phase 1 clinical trial of Moderna's COVID-19 vaccine candidate. This trial, which will involve up to 45 healthy adult volunteers, will test the vaccine's safety, immunogenicity, and its reactogenicity (the amount of it that causes expected side effects).