Israeli Defence Minister Naftali Bennett has said that scientists at the country’s main biological research institute have made a “significant breakthrough” in developing an antibody to the novel coronavirus, as the researchers wrapped up the development phase and moved to patent and mass produce the potential treatment.
Bennett visited the labs of the Israel’s Institute for Biological Research (IIBR), supervised by the Prime Minister’s Office and mandated to develop a vaccine for coronavirus, in Ness Ziona on Monday and was shown the “antibody that attacks the virus in a monoclonal way and can neutralize it within the bodies of those ill”, a statement from his office said.
“Their creativity and the Jewish mind brought about this amazing achievement”.
The statement said that the antibody’s development had been completed and that the institute was in the process of patenting the find “and in the next stage, researchers will approach international companies to produce the antibody on a commercial scale”.
“I am proud of the institute staff for this terrific breakthrough,” Bennett said, “Their creativity and the Jewish mind brought about this amazing achievement”.
It was not immediately clear if the breakthrough presented to Bennett was in addition to progress that was reported in late March, and no further details were provided.The statement also did not specify whether human trials were conducted.
About 100 research groups worldwide are searching for vaccines, with nearly a dozen in the early stages of human trials or ready to go. But so far, there is no way to predict which vaccine, if any, will work safely, or even naming a favorite.
Dr. Anthony Fauci, the top expert on the US government, warned that even if everything goes perfectly good, developing a vaccine in 12 to 18 months would set a speed record.
Even if a useful first vaccine is identified, initially there won’t be enough for everyone. An increasing number of vaccine manufacturers say they are already starting to prepare tons of doses, wasting millions of dollars if they go for the wrong candidate, but saving a few months on mass vaccines if their choice is fulfilled.
Israel advances in its plan to build its first vaccine factory
Israel is advancing steadily in its plan to build its first vaccine factory to guarantee self-sufficiency in the country.
The location chosen to carry out the installation is the small southern city of Yeruham, located less than 100 kilometers away from Jerusalem. There, local authorities, with the support of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, would work in partnership with the Israel Biological Research Institute (IIBR) and a large international pharmaceutical company to achieve the ambitious project.
This Monday, a spokesperson for the government reported that, after a successful meeting with the CEO of an international pharmaceutical company, a model has been developed that would allow for a “rapid construction” of the center and that would only need to be approved by Netanyahu to start.
In case the plan receives the approval of the national government and prospers; the manufacturing plant could be lifted even before IIBR completes development and approvals for its coronavirus vaccine. It is predicted to be ready in early 2021.