A group of Israeli scientists announced their plans to be the first to produce a coronavirus vaccine – as the infectious disease’s death toll tops 2,800, with more than 83,000 currently infected worldwide.
After spending four years to come up with a vaccine to cure Infectious Bronchitis Virus (IBV) – the ultra-contageous coronavirus found in birds – the Israel-based Galilee Research Institute (MIGAL) now says it is just eight to 10 weeks away from adapting its vaccine to help wipe out the human form of the disease (COVID-19).
Israel heads innovation
Israeli Minister of Science and Technology Ofir Akunis commended the team for its work.
“Congratulations to MIGAL on this exciting breakthrough,” Akunis proclaimed, according to CBN News. “I am confident that there will be further rapid progress, enabling us to provide a needed response to the grave global COVID-19 threat.”
In order for the vaccine to be accessible at its earliest date, Akunis is doing all he can to fast-track the approval process to make it market-ready as an oral pill in several weeks, and MIGAL CEO David Zigdon is on board.
“Given the urgent global need for a human coronavirus vaccine, we are doing everything we can to accelerate development,” Zigdon assured, as reported by CBN News. “Our goal is to produce the vaccine during the next 8–10 weeks and to achieve safety approval in 90 days. This will be an oral vaccine, making it particularly accessible to the general public. We are currently in intensive discussions with potential partners that can help accelerate the in-human trials phase and expedite the completion final product development and regulatory activities.“
Few distinctions can be detected between the two forms of the virus.
“The poultry coronavirus is nearly identical to the human coronavirus” CBN News noted. “Israel’s vaccine for the poultry coronavirus has been proven effective against the disease in pre-clinical trials carried out by the Volcani Institute.”
Dr. Chen Katz – who heads MIGAL’s Biotechnology Group – explained the science behind the vaccine.
“The scientific framework for the vaccine is based on a new protein expression vector, which forms and secretes a chimeric soluble protein that delivers the viral antigen into mucosal tissues by self-activated endocytosis – a cellular process in which substances are brought into a cell by surrounding the material with cell membrane, forming a vesicle containing the ingested material – causing the body to form antibodies against the virus,” Katz was quoted in a MIGAL report. “In pre-clinical (IN-VIVO) trials, MIGAL’s researchers have demonstrated that the oral vaccination induces high levels of specific anti-IBV antibodies.”
Stemming the surge?
News of a foreseeable end of the coronavirus was met with a significant uptick in deaths and infection.
“Thursday saw the largest spike in Coronaviruses in a single day, with nearly 15,000 new infections and 242 more deaths,” an update from CBN revealed. “As the disease continues its spread, health experts and people around the world are hoping for some breakthrough cure, vaccine and protection.”
At the same time, another Israeli group came out with a cutting-edge innovation in masks used to curtail the spread of coronavirus.
“Argaman Technologies LTD claims its new revolutionary face masks are more than just shields, but weapons that can kill 99% of viruses like the coronavirus,” CBN divulged. “The company says these masks are more effective than the standard ‘N-95’ mask used by million for protection. In fact, these new antiviral masks are making their way to Hong Kong, where they will potentially save lives.”
Land of innovation
Being a leader in innovation in the medical field is nothing new to Israel, which is one of the most scientifically advanced nations on Earth.
Per capita, Israel reportedly has the highest ratio of scientific publications – greater than any other nation in the world by a decisive margin. In fact, Israel is ranked number one when it comes to having the greatest number of startup companies in proportion to its population, which is approximately 9 million.
In addition, Israel has been among the countries boasting the highest rate of patents filled.