Washington, June 4: The race for coronavirus vaccine in the United States is set to turn narrower as the Donald Trump regime has shortlisted five among the most promising pharma firms. An announcement on the final candidates - who will receive a spree of government aid and funding - will be made soon, said a top health official in the federal government. Coronavirus Vaccine Update: From Ayurveda to Remdesivir And More, Here's What Progress India, US, China And Other Countries Have Made so Far.

The short-listing of five final candidates was essential to focus on the most promising pharma companies among the pool of candidates who have laid claim to the development of a potential vaccine. An official announcement would be made in the next few weeks, NYT reported Dr. Anthony S. Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, as saying.

The five finalists includes Moderna Therapeutics at the top, as the mRNA vaccine being developed by the company has been backed by an array of experts. The company has already initiated round two of the clinical trials which also involves tests on humans.

The four other shortlisted candidates for COVID-19 vaccine development are: Oxford-AstraZeneca group, Johnson & Johnson, Merck and Pfizer. Fauci, while sounding an optimist note during a medical seminar on Tuesday, said the "winner or winners" among the shortlisted group may produce millions of doses by early 2021.

The President, according to political pundits in the US, is desperate to emerge with a groundbreaking solution to the coronavirus crisis. The pandemic has already claimed more than 106,000 lives and infected around 1.8 million Americans.

The US is also eyeing to score a geopolitical mark against China - its economic and strategic rival - which has also escalates its efforts to develop the vaccine. Sinovac Biotech, the leading Chinese pharmaceutical firm, is "99 percent sure" of success and hopes to produce the vaccine by 2020-end. Both Beijing and Washington have pledged to share the vaccine with international community once developed.

(The above story first appeared on LatestLY on Jun 04, 2020 10:28 AM IST. For more news and updates on politics, world, sports, entertainment and lifestyle, log on to our website latestly.com).