שגב הראל
Segev Harel receiving the Israeli coronavirus vaccine candidate
Photo: Defense Ministry
Segev Harel receiving the Israeli coronavirus vaccine during human trials

Israeli COVID vaccine could be available by summer 2021, chief scientist says

Prof. Shapira who heads Institute for Biological Research slams leaders for lack of support in development, says due to overregulation, third phase will not start before April; minimal side-effects were observed during initial testing

Adir Yanko, Roi Rubinstein |
Published: 11.30.20 , 13:16
An Israeli-made coronavirus vaccine might be available by the summer of 2021, a chief scientist said Monday.
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  • Head of the Israel Institute for Biological Research, tasked by the government with developing the vaccine, Prof. Shmuel Shapira told Knesset's Science and Technology Committee that the treatment is "efficient and safe" and their intention is to produce some 15 million doses.
    שגב הראלשגב הראל
    Segev Harel receiving the Israeli coronavirus vaccine during human trials
    (Photo: Defense Ministry)
    Shapira criticized what he perceived as a lack of support for the institute's efforts and the decision to acquire vaccines from foreign companies.
    "We have this proclivity to respect English and sometimes Russian-speaking companies," he said. "I think that we [Israel Institute for Biological Research] are making a serious and determined effort, regardless of economic incentives. I would be glad to receive the same support and admiration that companies, which make 30 times more than us, get."
    Shapira also said that due to overregulation, the progress of the Israeli vaccine is slow, adding the institute should have already started with the third phase of development, which is set to start only in April.
    According to him, during the first stage of human trials among 80 subjects under four different models, only minimal side effects were observed.
    מעבדות המכון הביולוגימעבדות המכון הביולוגי
    Prof. Shapira who heads Institute for Biological Research
    (Photo: Institute for Biological Research)
    "We are not a company trying to sell stocks, we are reliable. Out ethical commitment is of the highest order," he said when asked about the authenticness of the vaccine.
    "This vaccine is a firm foot on the ground and not two birds in the bush. I am sure this will be the vaccine for the citizens of Israel."
    Israel has already signed a supply deal with four companies: Moderna, Pfizer, AstraZeneca and Arcturus. According to the agreements, Pfizer is set to supply eight million doses, Moderna two million and AstraZeneca 10 million.
    All three companies' treatment requires a second dose of the vaccine after the initial shot, while the Israeli vaccine is expected to require only one.

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