German biotech company CureVac has launched the final stage of clinical trials for CVnCoV, its COVID-19 vaccine candidate, it announced Monday.

More than 35,000 volunteers from Europe and Latin America are expected to participate in the study, with the first participant already enrolled, the statement said.

Participants age 18 or above will receive a two-dose schedule of either the vaccine or placebo (substance with no therapeutic effect).

“The clinical safety and immunogenicity data achieved to date look promising and we are hopeful that this trial will continue to demonstrate the impact of mRNA technology and our vaccine to prevent COVID-19 and to help defeat this pandemic,” Dr. Franz-Werner Haas, CEO of CureVac, said.

If the trials are successful, CureVac will become the second German firm to develop a COVID-19 vaccine after BioNTech — along with US pharma giant Pfizer — whose vaccine is approved in the US and the UK, and is awaiting emergency use authorization in Europe.

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