JERUSALEM, Israel – The Israel Institute for Biological Research (IIBR) will begin testing its coronavirus vaccine on human subjects in October, Defense Minister Benny Gantz announced on Thursday.
The government-funded laboratory began working on a vaccine six months ago, and leaders say their product has promising results.
“We have an excellent vaccine,” IIBR Director General Prof. Shmuel C. Shapira said while holding up a sample of the vaccine during a video conference. “This is the first vial of the vaccine; since last Thursday, we have a vaccine.”
The human trials will begin after the Jewish holidays are over in September. The government hopes to have an effective vaccine for all residents of Israel by the end of the first quarter of 2021.
If that proves successful, Israel will work to ensure that other countries can purchase vaccine options from Israel.
Last month, Israel’s Channel 12 News reported that the IIBR’s vaccine was nearly 100% successful in animals.
The report said the Israeli vaccine can compete with the one being developed by the US biotechnology firm Moderna.
Gantz congratulated the IIBR on their work.
“Just as in the IDF there are elite units that break through and clear the path — you are the reconnaissance unit of the State of Israel in the Defense Ministry in the field of vaccines. I am at your service and I ask that you involve me in any matter that I can help with,” the defense minister said.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said the institute will continue to develop a safe and effective vaccine with “maximum speed.”
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