Israel claims to have 'excellent' COVID-19 vaccine in hand
Israel says it has an 'excellent' vaccine in hand to prevent COVID-19, the novel coronavirus disease. The claim was made by Professor Shmuel Shapira, the director of the institute leading the work on the vaccine, during a visit by the country's Minister of Defense Benny Gantz. Here is all you need to know about it.
Excellent vaccine in hand, regulatory processes pending
On Thursday, when Gantz visited the Israel Institute of Biological Research - a state-backed defense research lab - for an update on the COVID-19 vaccine, he was informed that the shot is ready and capable of producing antibodies against coronavirus. "There is an excellent vaccine," Professor Shapira said while noting that "there are [still some] regulatory processes that the vaccine needs to go through."
IIBR's work appreciated by Gantz
Gantz went on to appreciate the people at the Ministry of Defense and IIBR for their work on the vaccine and said "all of the successful preliminary trials offer very significant news and a great deal of hope." He also compared them to the Israel Defense Force, saying that "you all are the State of Israel's elite unit...for all things vaccine-related."
Human trials to begin pretty soon
As for the pending regulatory processes, Gantz, who was accompanied by his aide on COVID-19 response, instructed that the vaccine should move forward pretty soon. "The next phase is to start trials in humans after the autumn holidays, in coordination with the Ministry of Health and in line with medical safety protocol," the Minister emphasized, according to a statement from his office.
I'm proud of what we've got in hand: Professor Shapira
Acknowledging the plan to start safety and efficacy trials after holidays, Professor Shapira said, "I am proud of what we've got in hand". However, he didn't share specific findings from the preliminary trials of the shot or when it will be ready for public use.
What we know about Israel's vaccine?
The work on IIBR's vaccine - the only one from Israel - began in February, and in May, it was reported that the institute has isolated a "monoclonal neutralizing antibody" that could neutralize the virus within the bodies of those who are ill. Back then, Shapira had said that they were moving toward patenting the vaccine, which will be followed by mass-production.
26 vaccines already in human trials
Along with Israel, other nations are also moving ahead with their COVID-19 vaccines. There are as many as 26 candidate vaccines in human trial stage, of which those from Moderna and Oxford University are in the final stage and leading the race. India also has two homegrown candidates in human trials - one from Bharat Biotech and the other from Zydus Cadila.