FILE PHOTO: The company logo for Johnson & Johnson is displayed on a screen to celebrate the 75th anniversary of the company’s listing at the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) in New York, U.S., September 17, 2019. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid/File Photo

(Reuters) – Johnson & Johnson (JNJ.N) plans to start human testing of its experimental coronavirus vaccine by September and make it ready for emergency use in early 2021, the drugmaker said on Monday.

J&J also committed more than $1 billion of investment along with U.S. agency Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA) to co-fund vaccine research, expanding a previous collaboration.

Global efforts are underway to develop a vaccine for the virus that has killed over 34,000 worldwide, but experts have cautioned it could take over a year to have a vaccine ready.

A patient was dosed with Moderna Inc’s (MRNA.O) vaccine in an early-stage trial earlier this month, making it the front-runner in the race to develop a viable vaccine.

J&J said in January it had begun working on a possible vaccine for the coronavirus, using the same technologies used to make its experimental Ebola vaccine.

Reporting by Manas Mishra in Bengaluru; Editing by Bernard Orr and Saumyadeb Chakrabarty

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