Head of Israel Biological Institute says 15 million doses of the single-shot vaccine produced, second phase of human trials about to begin.
By Paul Shindman, World Israel News
The head of the Israel Biological Institute told the Knesset’s Science and Technology Committee on Monday that the coronavirus vaccine being developed in Israel is expected to be ready during the summer of 2021, Channel 12 reported.
“We have the intention and ability to produce 15 million vaccines for the benefit of the citizens of the State of Israel and also for the benefit of neighbors close to us,” said Prof. Shmuel Shapira.
The Institute began the first human trials of the vaccine at the beginning of November using volunteers, and Shapira said the second phase of testing will begin “within a week to 10 days.”
“Our vaccine will need one shot and it has tremendous practical significance,” Shapira said, noting that the Israeli-made medicine is not a ‘logistical monster’ like the vaccine developed by the American company Pfizer that needs to be stored and distributed at extremely cold temperatures.
“We are talking about starting vaccinations during the summer. Our production capabilities are good and high. So far we have produced 3 million, we have the ability to finish phase 2 and 3 [testing] quickly and well,” Shapira said.
However, Shapria criticized the Health Ministry over what he called excessive regulation demands above and beyond what he considers normal.
“We have encountered delays in over-regulation and a very meticulous path that other companies in the world have not gone through,” Shapira stated, noting that he hoped to get approval for stage three testing by April, a point when, he said, the vaccine should already have been in the middle of the stage three test.
Shapira also leveled some criticism at the government of Israel, saying that “the wind at our back is not strong enough” because officials were giving more respect to “companies whose mother tongue is English, and more recently also companies whose mother tongue is Russian,” referring to Health Ministry efforts to obtain a new Russian vaccine.
“I think there is very good science here and leading scientists are behind us,” Shapira said. “I would like to receive the same support and sympathy that the giant companies that have a budget 30 times ours receive.”