A vaccine for COVID-19 may be available sooner than anticipated, according to pharmaceutical giant Johnson & Johnson. Today the company is announcing a “landmark new partnership with U.S. Department of Health & Human Services; and commitment to supply one billion vaccines worldwide for emergency pandemic use.” J&J issued a statement saying:

The Company expects to initiate human clinical studies of its lead vaccine candidate at the latest by September 2020 and anticipates the first batches of a COVID-19 vaccine could be available for emergency use authorization in early 2021, a substantially accelerated timeframe in comparison to the typical vaccine development process.

Up to this point, most medical experts have said it would take at least 18 months to get a vaccine on the market.

The Wall Street Journal points out:

Johnson & Johnson is one of many companies at work on a vaccine for the disease, which has become a global health crisis. Moderna Inc. has begun human trials for a vaccine using a novel approach that relies on the virus’s messenger RNA, a type of genetic material. Sanofi, a French biotech company, has begun work on a similar approach.