(August 6, 2020 / JNS) Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu congratulated Israeli coronavirus vaccine researchers ahead of the start of human trials.
“I am pleased to hear about the progress and I want to congratulate you on it. Continue on this path with the maximum speed that you deem scientifically sufficient. I directed that a vaccine be developed here in Israel out of great faith in our people and our abilities as a country,” he said in a videoconference with Israel Institute for Biological Research (IIBR) director-general Professor Shmuel C. Shapira and the heads of the IIBR research team.
According to the prime minister’s office, the IIBR activity to develop a vaccine began immediately with Israel’s preparations to deal with the coronavirus as part of Netanyahu’s goal of developing a vaccine or becoming involved in efforts to develop one.
Netanyahu directed that the process be continued ahead of the completion of the trials and the production of the vaccine so that Israel will have safe and effective vaccines for all residents by the end of the first quarter of 2021.
The IIBR’s rate of progress until now has been in keeping with the timetables determined at the outset by the National Security Council (NSC), the Defense Ministry and the Health Ministry.
“Six months ago, you dispatched us to bring a vaccine and antibodies to the State of Israel. We have carried out the mission, and are carrying it out in the best way possible. We have an excellent vaccine. This is the first vial of the vaccine; since last Thursday, we have a vaccine,” said Shapira.
Additionally, Netanyahu also instructed that action be taken to outline plans to allow other countries to purchase vaccine options from Israel.
Defense Minister Benny Gantz visited the IIBR earlier on Thursday, saying that human trials will begin in September after the High Holidays.
Dozens of countries and pharmaceutical companies have been working on a coronavirus vaccine. Several vaccines, including ones produced by Moderna/National Institutes of Health, Pfizer and AstraZeneca/University of Oxford, are in stage three human trials and hope to have doses available to the public by the end of 2020 or early 2021.
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