In a significant development in the war against coronavirus pandemic, the Israel Institute for Biological Research (IIBR) has claimed to have developed a coronavirus vaccine prototype.
The institute’s director, Shmuel Shapira, informed this to the country’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Tuesday. Shmuel says that they have already started testing the prototype at their bio-chemical defense laboratory.
IIBR, known for making biochemical weapons for Israel, started focusing on the development of anti-coronavirus vaccine on special directives from the prime minister in early February.
IIBR is a top government biochemical research institute, and its officials rarely make public interaction. However, for this purpose, they collaborated with civilian scientists and private firms and dedicated three groups to the task.
While Netanyahu’s office only confirmed the vaccine was ready for testing, the international news agency, Reuters, reported cited sources that the trial already began on rodents.
In rare public comment, the facility’s chief innovation officer Eran Zahavy said that they are also researching other potential treatments to the virus.
We are trying as much as we can to collaborate and have other ideas from other people. But the facility of the lab is very crowded and very busy and very dangerous so it has to be very slow and very cautious.
He said that arranging an animal test-subject was a massive challenge for them as the virus is not affecting animals.
Shmuel highlighted that a successful test on animals does not guarantee success on human test subjects.
It’s not enough only to detect neutralizing antibodies in the animal. You want to see them getting sick and getting better by this vaccine.
However, he said, IIBR has a ‘unique animal’ for such tests and a ‘very unique technology to detect the animals’ interaction with the disease. He mentioned that the instituted is also testing the plasma technique on coronavirus patients.