State-funded Migal institute has been working on a vaccine for four years that could be designed for several viruses. With the emergence of the COVID-19, the institute found a head start.
An effective Israeli-developed vaccine for the coronavirus is in progress of completion and testing within the span of a few weeks, however, it will not be available for months due to the long, at times ‘bureaucratic’ testing and approval process, a development team member said on Tuesday.
Although Israel’s science ministry made headlines last week by venturing the work of the institute and claiming its vaccine may be three months away, Dr. Asher Shalmon, director of international affairs at the Health Ministry, warned against putting “false expectations” in it.
The vaccine will consist of a specially formulated antigen, and Katz said he hopes within “a few weeks” to clutch a bottle of it. But then comes clinical research, which will take place in tandem with a partner, and the paperwork, all 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.”
Due to “waiting periods” between the various phases of the process, time may also be wasted before regulators offer the nod for things to move forward.
He spoke of the enthusiasm that his team felt when it learned that it could be modified to counter coronavirus by the work that it had been engaged in for four years.
“The opportunity is amazing here,” he said. “Everyone wants to know we can contribute something to humanity and when we found we had the right tools to do it this became is very exciting.”
Katz’s group at Israel’s state-funded Migal Institute has become a source of hope for many around the world after it announced on February 27 that it is working on the vaccine, and said it hoped to gain safety approval in a time period of 90 days.