Israeli researchers claim they have developed a vaccine against the coronavirus for poultry and are only three months away from testing a vaccine on humans.
The research team from the Galilee Research Institute, (Migal) which specializes in the fields of biotechnology, environmental and agricultural science, have been developing the vaccine for the past four years and claim it could be modified for use in humans within three months because of a similar DNA structure in the virus that had spread from China.
"There is a high urgency around the world to develop a vaccine for the coronavirus in humans, so we are working to expedite the development process and achieve an effective vaccine for the COVID-19 virus over the next 8-10 weeks and move to safety trials [in humans] within 90 days," said Migal CEO David Zigdon in a press conference.
"The vaccine developed by us for poultry is administered orally and the human vaccine offered by us is also expected to be administered orally."
Zigdon noted that due to the urgent global need for the vaccine, Migal is working around the clock with potential partners to help accelerate the research process in humans needed to complete the final product development and regulatory process.
Migal founder, Prof. Dan Levanon, said that the duration of the vaccine's development process is contingent upon health officials' regulations.
"Under these conditions, where the disease causes enormous damages as it worsens, I believe the regulations will be eased," said Levanon. "Had [the vaccine] had to be subjected to the usual regulations, it would have taken several years. Of course, without risking human life."
Minister of Science and Technology Ofir Akunis welcomed the researchers' breakthrough.
"I hope and believe there will be further progress soon," said Akunis.
Akunis also instructed the director of the ministry to promote any possible collaborations that would expedite the production of a vaccine in humans.
Meanwhile, an Israeli returning from Italy, considered the epicenter of the coronavirus in Europe, was confirmed to have contracted the disease and is being quarantined at the dedicated ward in the Sheba Medical center.
Health officials have said they will locate anyone who may have come into contact with the man in an effort to contain the spread of the virus.
As the virus spreads, Denmark has reported its first case of the coronavirus in a man who returned from a ski trip in northern Italy.
Estonia reported its first case Thursday in a man of Iranian origin who recently visited the Islamic Republic.
Norway, Romania and Greece have all reported their first cases of the deadly pathogen on Wednesday.
In South America, a man in Brazil was tested positive for the virus after returning from Italy.
In Asia, Pakistan has also reported its first case of the virus.
So far, some 82,000 people (78,500 in China) have been infected worldwide. Some 2,800 have died, 2,744 of which in China.