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Clinical trials of Israeli coronavirus vaccine underway

(JNS) The first Israeli SARS-CoV-2 vaccine was administered at Sheba Medical Center at Tel Hashomer in Ramat Gan on Sunday to the first volunteer in a clinical trial. The vaccine, called “BriLife,” was developed by the Israel Institute of Biological Research (IIBR), which has prepared 25,000 doses ahead of the 80-person trial. Half of the volunteers will be given the vaccine (or a placebo) at Hadassah University Medical Center in Jerusalem, and half at Sheba Medical Center.

In the first stage of the trials, the volunteers, ages 18 to 55, will be monitored for anti-bodies and side effects for three weeks after receiving an injection (vaccine or placebo). The second stage is set to begin in December, and will involve extensive safety tests on a group of 960 healthy volunteers in several medical centers across Israel. The third and final phase, scheduled for April or May, will test the vaccine’s efficacy with the participation of up to 30,000 volunteers.

At a press conference at Sheba, IIBR head professor Shmuel Shapira said the vaccine represented “an incredible scientific achievement” which was made in record time, despite the fact that the IIBR had taken no shortcuts “of the kind enjoyed by the big corporations.”

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who was present at the event, along with Defense Minister Benny Gantz and Health Minister Yuli Edelstein, thanked Shapira, the IIBR and the Health Ministry for their work in developing the vaccine, but emphasized that Israel has also been working with the big pharmaceutical companies for access to their vaccines, and has reached out to various world leaders to ensure Israel “was at the front of the line, not the back.”

“I do not think that this will happen immediately, but I do tell you that I already see the light at the end of the tunnel. Therefore, I have one request: that you pay heed to the regulations of the Health Ministry and corona Cabinet, which are designed for the benefit of the citizens of Israel. This is to safeguard your lives and your health. Above all, wear masks over the nose and mouth,” he said.

Main Photo: Nurse Hela Litwin administers Israel’s first SARs-CoV-2 vaccine, BriLife, to volunteer Segev Harel at Sheba Medical Center at Tel Hashomer in Ramat Gan, Nov. 1. (Credit:Israeli Defense Ministry Spokesperson’s Office.

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