The U.S. government has awarded a $1.6 billion contract to Novavax, Inc. to develop a coronavirus vaccine.
The award to the Maryland-based company is the largest to date from the government's "Operation Warp Speed" initiative to fast-track the development of vaccines and other treatments for COVID-19.
Chief Executive Stanley Erck said the company aims to begin delivering 100 million doses of a vaccine in the fourth quarter of this year, an endeavor he said that "may be completed by January or February of next year."
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The U.S. Health and Human Services Department and the Defense Department said in a joint statement that because the federal government funded the initiative, they "will own the 100 million doses of investigational vaccine expected to result from the demonstration projects."
The award was granted as the number of new infections are surging in the U.S., the world leader in infections and fatalities, prompting a growing number of states and cities to reimpose lockdown measures.
The country's preeminent infectious disease expert, Dr. Anthony Fauci, warned in an interview Monday the U.S. is still "knee-deep in the first wave of this" pandemic.
Novavax's stock price soared in premarket trading on the news it had received the government funding.
WATCH: VOA Interview -Dr. Fauci optimistic about vaccine
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