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Scientists in Israel likely to announce that they developed the coronavirus vaccine: report

JERUSALEM: Scientists in Israel are expected to announce in the next few days that they have completed the development of a vaccine for the new coronavirus COVID-19, according to a media report here.

The Israeli daily Ha’aretz, citing medical sources, reported on Thursday that scientists at the Israel Biological Research Institute, overseen by the Prime Minister’s office, have recently made significant progress in understanding the biological mechanism and the qualities of the virus, including better diagnostic capacity, production of antibodies for those who already have the virus and development of a vaccine.

However, the development process requires a series of tests and experiments that can take many months before the vaccine is deemed effective or safe to use, according to the report.

The Defense Ministry, however, did not confirm the same in its response to the newspaper.

“There has been no progress in the biological institute’s efforts to find a coronavirus vaccine or to develop test kits. The institute’s work is carried out according to an orderly work plan and will take time. If and when there will be Something to report will be done in an orderly manner, “the Defense Ministry told Ha’aretz.

“The Biological Institute is a world-renowned research and development agency, which has experienced researchers and scientists with extensive knowledge and quality infrastructure. There are now more than 50 experienced scientists working at the institute to research and develop a medical remedy for the virus, “he added.

The Biological Research Institute, located in the central Israeli city of Nes Tziona, was established in 1952 as part of the Science Corps of the Israel Defense Forces, and later became a civil organization.

It is technically under the supervision of the Prime Minister’s Office, but is in close communication with the Defense Ministry, according to the report.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is said to have ordered the institute to devote resources to developing a vaccine for Covid-19 on February 1.

The normal process of development of such a vaccine requires a long process of preclinical animal testing, followed by clinical trials. This period allows a full characterization of the side effects and a better understanding of how different populations are affected, the newspaper said.

However, the global emergency from the coronavirus pandemic may accelerate this process to vaccinate most people at highest risk of contracting the virus, he said.

Israel’s most popular news portal Ynet reported about three weeks ago that five shipments of virus samples arrived here from Japan, Italy and other countries.

They were brought by a specially insured Defense Ministry courier service to the Institute for Biological Research and had been frozen at -80 degrees Celsius, he said.

There has been intensive work, including by leading experts, to develop the vaccine since then.

Experts believe that the time required to develop a vaccine ranges from a few months to a year and a half.

Numerous research teams from around the world participate in the race to develop a vaccine for COVID-19. Many of them at this point are focusing on how the virus presents itself in animals, and the biggest obstacle is how it transforms when it moves from animals to humans.

China released the genetic sequence of the virus in open scientific databases shortly after its outbreak in January so that research institutes and commercial companies could try to develop treatments and vaccines without the need to collect samples.

About a month and a half after the publication of the genetic sequence, the Boston, Massachusetts-based biotech company Moderna, Inc. announced that it had completed development of a possible coronavirus vaccine, Ha’aretz reported.

The vaccine was shipped to the US National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. USA, with clinical trials, which will include up to 25 health participants to start in April, according to the report.

Presumably, any vaccine developed in Israel will also have to go through a similar or even stricter process before being approved for use, the newspaper said.

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