The Galilean Research Institute (MIGAL) in Israel announced on february 27th that they developed a vaccine against the coronavirus.
The announcement was made by Israel’s Minister of Science and Technology, Ofir Akunis, where he congratulated MIGAL for “reaching this exciting breakthrough”, and trusted that progress to respond to the global threat of the epidemic will be faster.
MIGAL spent four years creating a vaccine against the highly contagious coronavirus that infects birds called “Infectious Bronchitis Virus (IBV)”. Now, they are adapting the vaccine for the human coronavirus, also known as COVID-19.
“Let’s call it pure luck”
Chen Katz, leader of the research group, reported that for four years they had been developing the technology to counteract the infectious bronchitis virus, a disease that affects poultry, “and not specifically a vaccine for this or that type of virus.”
For this project, the scientists chose the coronavirus “only as a concept for our technology”, and now, thanks to this advance, “only one adjustment of the system to the new sequence is required”. “Let’s call it pure luck,” Katz said.
Akunis will accelerate the approval processes of the human coronavirus vaccine so that it can reach the market as soon as possible.
MIGAL researchers managed to demonstrate in a preclinical trial that the use of the system produces specific antibodies for viral protein subunits and resistant to infectious bronchitis virus.
After adjusting the genetic sequence for the coronavirus, MIGAL awaits the safety approval of the product to start producing vaccines against the disease.
According to David Zigdon, general manager of MIGAL, the vaccine would be administered orally, which would facilitate access for the general public. In previous trials, vaccination by this route would allow high levels of antibodies against the virus to be introduced.
In 90 days it could be available in the market
Zigdon reported that they are in the middle of the process and that, for now, they are in talks with potential partners “that can help us accelerate the human testing phase and the achievement of the final product and the regulatory process.”
In case the COVID-19 vaccine is successfully developed, it would go through a regulation process approximately for three months before its arrival on the market.
The vaccine will initially be given to a group of healthy people, and the tests are expected to finish at the end of July or August of this year. If the trial turns out to be successful, a greater number of evaluations will be needed