Israeli researchers reckon they will have a coronavirus vaccine ready to test in just 90 days
Health & Biotech
Health & Biotech
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It’s been just two months since the outbreak of the deadly virus known as COVID-19, which is now a global pandemic, was announced but now the Israelis reckon they will be the first to come up with a vaccine.
According to the World Health Organization, there are currently more than 20 vaccines in development globally, and several therapeutics are in clinical trials.
But Israeli researchers have revealed they could have a vaccine ready for human testing in just 90 days.
A pneumonia of unknown cause detected in Wuhan, China was first reported to the WHO Country Office in China on December 31, 2019.
The outbreak was declared a Public Health Emergency of International Concern on January 30, 2020.
However, researchers from Israel’s MIGAL Galilee Research Institute have spent the past four years working on a vaccine for avian coronavirus infectious bronchitis virus (IBV).
Avian IBV affects chickens, but the researchers found that it has a high genetic similarity to the human version and uses the same infection mechanism — a fact the researchers say increases the likelihood of achieving an effective human vaccine in a “very short period of time”.
Dr Chen Katz, the institute’s biotechnology group leader, was quoted by The Jerusalem Post as saying all the researchers need to do is “adjust the system to the new sequence”.
“We are in the middle of this process, and hopefully in a few weeks we will have the vaccine in our hands. Yes, in a few weeks, if it all works, we would have a vaccine to prevent coronavirus,” he said.
MIGAL Galilee Research Institute CEO David Zigdon said the MIGAL Galilee Research Institute was in intensive discussions with potential partners that could accelerate the in-human trials phase and expedite final development and regulatory clearance.
The institute already has the Israeli government’s support, with Minister of Science and Technology Ofir Akunis promising approval processes will be fast-tracked so the drug can be bought to market as quickly as possible.
Zigdon said the goal was to produce the vaccine within the next eight to 10 weeks and achieve safety approval in 90 days.
“Given the urgent global need for a human coronavirus vaccine, we are doing everything we can to accelerate development,” he said.
“This will be an oral vaccine, making it particularly accessible to the general public.”
An earlier version of this story gave the impression the vaccine would be ready for consumption in 90 days. The 90 day time frame refers to the period when it would be ready for human testing. The full development process could take up to 18 months.