Posts Tagged “COVID-19 vaccine”

Israeli BioLab to Begin Clinical Trial of New Covid-19 Vaccine

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Israeli BioLab to Begin Clinical Trial of New Covid-19 Vaccine

The government-run Israel Institute for Biological Research (IIBR) has received final approval to launch clinical trials with human participants for its COVID-19 vaccine candidate on November 1, the Israeli Ministry of Defense announced on Sunday.

The Health Ministry and the Helsinki Committee, a medical panel comprised of physicians and advocates that weighs research approval for human experiments, gave the okay for trials to start after “rigorous preparations and R&D,” said the Ministry of Defense.

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The newly announced commercial name for the Israeli-developed, single-dose vaccine is Brilife, a combination of “Bri” which alludes to the Hebrew word for health, “briut,” “il,” for Israel, and “life.”

“We are now beginning a crucial phase [in the development of the vaccine]: the clinical trials phase,” said Professor Shmuel Shapira, the director of IIBR. “I believe in the abilities of our scientists and I am confident that we can produce a safe and effective vaccine.”

The institute said that, to date, it has produced more than 25,000 vaccine doses for the different phases of the clinical trials and has adapted a device for large-scale production of vaccines – approximately 15 million.

The Ness Ziona-based research institute has been at work since February, when tapped by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, to develop a vaccine for SARS CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, with several breakthroughs along the way.

In summer, the institute’s scientists said that their vaccine candidate used vesicular stomatitis virus (VSV), an animal virus that does not cause disease in humans, and in which the spike protein was replaced with that of SARS-CoV-2. VSV is also the basis for a separate, effective vaccine against the Ebola virus.

“In this way, the body thinks it has been infected with the real [corona] virus, but actually it’s just a ‘costume,” said Dr. Hadas, a vaccine developer at the IIBR whose full name cannot be revealed, in a video put out by the institute. “So the body develops antibodies against the genetically engineered virus, but in the moment of truth, the body can identify, bind, and neutralize the virus.”

The IIBR’s vaccine is based on an existing virus (VSV) in which the spike protein was replaced with that of SARS-CoV-2. October 2020. Photo: Ministry of Defense Spokesperson’s Office

The vaccine, which the scientists called recombinant VSV-ΔG-spike or rVSV-ΔG-spike, had been tested on a number of animal models, including golden Syrian hamsters, mice, rabbits, and pigs, and was shown to be safe and well-tolerated, and able to bind and neutralize SARS-CoV-2 efficiently.

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Israeli Researchers Set To Begin Human Trials of COVID-19 Vaccine

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Israeli Researchers Set To Begin Human Trials of COVID-19 Vaccine

Israeli researchers from the government-run Israel Institute for Biological Research (IIBR) expect to begin human trials for the COVID-19 vaccine candidate they developed after the high holidays this fall.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu spoke with IIBR Director-General Professor Shmuel C. Shapira on Thursday, as well as with heads of the IIBR research team and “congratulated them on the progress in developing a vaccine against the coronavirus, ahead of the stage of human trials, which will start after the fall holidays,” the Government Press Office said in a statement.

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“I am pleased to hear about the progress and I want to congratulate you on it. Continue on this path with the maximum speed that you deem scientifically sufficient,” Netanyahu said, according to the announcement.

Defense Minister and Alternate Prime Minister Benny Gantz visited the Ness Ziona-based research institute on Thursday, the Jerusalem Post reported.

“Experiments on humans should begin after the Tishrei holidays,” Gantz was quoted as saying in reference to the first month of the Hebrew calendar when the high holidays begin. “The human trials will be conducted in collaboration with the Health Ministry…and according to all the processes required in terms of medical safety,” Gantz added.

Professor Shapira said the institute developed “an excellent vaccine” over the past six months. During the call with Netanyahu, he held up a vial and said: “This is the first vial of the vaccine.”

Netanyahu instructed that evaluations begin on the establishment of vaccine production in Israel “so that Israel will have safe and effective vaccines for all residents of Israel by the end of the first quarter of 2021.”

He also instructed that an outline be drawn up to allow other countries to purchase vaccine options from Israel. “The financing thus obtained will be able to assist in the establishment of production capabilities and processes,” he said, according to the announcement.

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