Israeli researchers claim to have made a key breakthrough in the search for a vaccine against coronavirus, saying one could be available for use in humans within three months.
They said in a press conference that the virus’ similar DNA structure in humans and poultry enabled modification of the existing vaccine and could make it effective in humans, Ynet reported.
“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,” Migal CEO David Zigdon said.
He said that Migal was working with partners globally to accelerate the research process in humans needed to complete the vaccine’s development and ensure that it met required regulatory standards.
“Under these conditions, where the disease causes enormous damages as it worsens, I believe the regulations will be eased,” Migal founder Professor David Levanon added.
He said that in normal conditions it might have been several more years before the vaccine would have become available for use in humans.
Israel’s Minister of Science and Technology Ofir Akunis congratulated the Migal researchers, saying: “I hope and believe there will be further progress soon.”
Migal is a research centre based in Kiryat Shmona in the Upper Galilee which specialises in biotechnology, agriculture, nutritional and environmental research. It has some 190 full-time researchers.
Meanwhile another Israeli firm, BATM, said that it had developed a testing kit for the virus to rapidly test and screen suspected coronavirus cases.
The firm said that production of the kits was underway in Rome and would facilitate the work of health officials who have warned about the reliability of existing diagnostic kits.