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Researchers Just Days Away from Testing Potential COVID-19 Vaccine on Humans

By HospiMedica International staff writers
Posted on 02 Apr 2020
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Image: Researchers just days away from testing potential COVID-19 vaccine on humans (Photo courtesy of MIGAL Galilee Research Institute)
Image: Researchers just days away from testing potential COVID-19 vaccine on humans (Photo courtesy of MIGAL Galilee Research Institute)
Researchers from the MIGAL Galilee Research Institute (Qiryat Shemona, Israel) are just days away from finishing the production of the active component of a coronavirus vaccine that could be tested on humans by as soon as June 1. Funded by Israel’s Ministry of Science & Technology, MIGAL’s researchers have developed an effective vaccine against avian coronavirus Infectious Bronchitis Virus (IBV) that is being adapted to create a human vaccine against COVID-19.

Research conducted at MIGAL revealed that the poultry coronavirus has high genetic similarity to the human COVID-19, and that it uses the same infection mechanism, a fact that increases the likelihood of achieving an effective human vaccine in a very short period of time. MIGAL has now made the required genetic adjustments to adapt the vaccine to COVID-19, the human strain of coronavirus, and is working to achieve the safety approvals that will enable in-vivo testing, enable the initiation of production of a vaccine to counter the coronavirus epidemic. The researchers have proved the effectiveness of the vaccine in preclinical trials carried out at the Volcani Institute.

“Given the urgent global need for a human coronavirus vaccine, we are doing everything we can to accelerate development. Our goal is to produce the vaccine during the next 8-10 weeks, and to achieve safety approval in 90 days,” said David Zigdon, CEO of MIGAL Galilee Research Institute. “This will be an oral vaccine, making it particularly accessible to the general public. We are currently in intensive discussions with potential partners that can help accelerate the in-human trials phase and expedite the completion final product development and regulatory activities.”

“The scientific framework for the vaccine is based on a new protein expression vector, which forms and secretes a chimeric soluble protein that delivers the viral antigen into mucosal tissues by self-activated endocytosis (a cellular process in which substances are brought into a cell by surrounding the material with cell membrane, forming a vesicle containing the ingested material), causing the body to form antibodies against the virus. In pre-clinical (IN-VIVO) trials, MIGAL’s researchers have demonstrated that the oral vaccination induces high levels of specific anti-IBV antibodies,” said Dr. Chen Katz, MIGAL’s Biotechnology Group Leader.

Meanwhile, researchers at the Israel Institute for Biological Research (IIBR; Ness Ziona, Israel) have reportedly begun testing a COVID-19 vaccine prototype on rodents. After being ordered by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to join the fight against the coronavirus pandemic, the IIBR has formed three groups for developing a vaccine against the COVID-19 disease and other groups for researching potential treatments. The IIBR is also collecting plasma from people who have recovered from COVID-19 infection to aid their research and is sampling various COVID-19 testing kits available in the market before the government places large orders for them.

Related Links:
MIGAL Galilee Research Institute
Israel Institute for Biological Research (IIBR)



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