A second U.S. company is poised to begin a small safety test of a vaccine against the new coronavirus.

Inovio Pharmaceuticals said Monday that it has Food and Drug Administration permission for the study in 40 healthy volunteers in Philadelphia and Kansas City, Missouri.

Last month, another vaccine candidate became the first to begin safety studies in people in Seattle. These studies are a first step toward larger research needed to prove if the shots will protect against COVID-19.

Even if the research goes well, a vaccine isn't expected to be widely available for over a year.

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