Israel claims to develop a coronavirus vaccine that can neutralize coronavirus, but it is unclear if the vaccine has been tested on humans.
Israeli Defense Minister Naftali Bennett has confirmed that Israel claims to develop an antibody that can neutralize coronavirus within the bodies of those infected. Israel Institute for Biological Research (IIBR) started testing the vaccine prototype on rodents last month.
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Israel Institute for Biological Research (IIBR)
is a research and development laboratory that works in the fields of biology, chemistry, and environmental sciences in order to provide the State of Israel with the scientific responses to chemical and biological threats. It is under the jurisdiction of the Prime Minister’s Office and works in close cooperation with government agencies. IIBR has many public projects on which it works with international research organizations (governmental and non-governmental) and universities. It has approximately 350 employees, 150 of whom are scientists.
Since 1995, the Institute has operated as a government-affiliated unit that researches all areas of defense against chemical and biological weapons, including the operation of national laboratories for detection and identification of such threats. Its research findings are often published in national and international scientific publications.
IIBR has claimed that they have developed an antibody against the coronavirus. The IIBR said it is working to patent its COVID-19 antibody and secure a contract for its commercial development.
How the development of coronavirus vaccine started by Israel
Last month, IIBR told that it had begun testing the coronavirus vaccine prototype on rodents. The institute is also involved in plasma collection from people who have recovered from the coronavirus infection.
Initially, the medical community thought blood testing could help in the fight against COVID-19 since the antibodies in a person’s blood may suggest that they are carriers of the virus or their possible immunity from infection. However, the World Health Organization (WHO) has clarified that there’s no evidence to show that people who have recovered from coronavirus disease or have antibodies to the virus are immune from reinfection. Further, the UN health agency cautioned that the presence of antibodies does not mean individuals cannot transmit the virus. This means, whether or not herd immunity exists for COVID-19 remains an open question.
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Infrastructure needed for the manufacturing of the coronavirus infection
Israel is planning to set up the country’s first vaccine production facility in the small southern town of Yeruham. According to a report in The Jerusalem Post, a spokesperson for the Yeruham local council revealed the plan, which is in partnership with the Israel Institute for Biological Research (IIBR) and an international pharmaceutical company.
The report stated that a model that would enable the establishment of the facility was presented. As per the model, the facility in Yeruham will manufacture tens of millions of vaccine units, of various types, which will help ensure the country self-sufficiency even in times of pandemics.
The plan, if approved by the Israeli government and will allow the facility to be built even before the IIBR completes the full development and approval for its vaccine, the report said.
As per the deal, infrastructure and manpower would be provided by the Yeruham local council, while IIBR will provide the research aspect. However, the model still depends on an undecided third partner for international operations, marketing and distribution purposes, added the report. Reportedly, talks with two of the world’s largest international pharmaceutical companies – one from India and the other from the United States – are ongoing.
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