Posted March 12, 2020 by Joseph Wouk
State-funded Migal Galilee instute has been working for 4 years on a vaccine that could be customized for various viruses, so it had a head start when COVID-19 emerged
An effective Israeli-developed vaccine for coronavirus is on track to be ready for testing within “a few weeks,” though it won’t be available for months because of the lengthy and sometimes bureaucratic testing and approval process, a member of the development team said Tuesday.
Chen Katz told The Times of Israel that the new oral vaccine for adults and children could “turn this disease into a very mild cold.” He said that for many people who are inoculated and then infected by COVID-19, “potentially it will not affect them at all.”
The rapid potential progress by the state-funded Migal Galilee Research Institute stems from the fact that the institute has been working for four years toward a vaccine that could be customized for various viruses, and has now adapted that work to focus on the coronavirus, he said.
Nonetheless, while Israel’s science ministry made headlines last week by touting the institute’s work and saying that its vaccine could be three months away, Dr. Asher Shalmon, the Health Ministry’s director of international relations, has warned against placing “false hopes” in it.
The vaccine will consist of a specially produced protein, and Katz said he expects to be clutching a bottle of it within “a few weeks.” But then comes clinical testing, which will take place in conjunction with a partner, and the paperwork, both of which will take time.
Katz, Biotechnology Group Leader at the institute, said: “By the time the protein is ready, we hope to have found the right partner who can take us through the clinical stage. The clinical testing experiments themselves are not so long, and we can complete them in 30 days, plus another 30 days for human trials. Most of the time is bureaucracy — regulation and paperwork.”
Time could also be lost because of “waiting points” between the different stages of the process, until regulators give the nod for things to move forward. warsclerotic read more