Australian clinical research firm Linear Clinical Research is set to perform a clinical trial of a Covid-19 vaccine candidate developed by China-based Clover Biopharmaceuticals.

Called Covid-19 S-Trimer, the vaccine is being developed to help the body generate antibodies against the novel coronavirus, SARS-CoV-2, which causes Covid-19.

It is based on Clover’s Trimer-Tag technology platform, which is designed to produce the protein-based vaccine.

The Trimer-Tag platform was previously used in various clinical studies. It has also been leveraged to develop vaccines for other RNA-based viruses, including influenza, RSV and HIV.

Linear Clinical Research CEO Jayden Rogers said: “Linear was awarded the study because of our extensive experience testing the world’s latest medical breakthroughs combined with its industry leading digital innovations.

“It also reflects Linear’s long term investment in China and on-going relationships with the pioneers of China’s global biopharmaceutical industry.”

“Clover’s access to early Covid-19 data and reagents made them one of the first companies to develop a vaccine which targets a protein that the virus needs to enter host cells.”

Clover began working on the Covid-19 vaccine candidate in January this year.

The project was expanded with vaccine development alliances, including partnerships with GlaxoSmithKline (GSK), Dynavax and Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI).

The Phase I trial of the vaccine candidate will enrol healthy adult and healthy elderly participants. Linear Clinical will start recruitment for the study within the coming two months.

If successful, a larger, global Phase IIb/II clinical trial will be launched immediately, with plans to make the vaccine available widely upon validation of its safety and efficacy.

More than 60 Covid-19 vaccine candidates are currently in development globally, but only a few are in early human trials.