© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: Israel's second COVID-19 lockdown comes at a heavy economic price
JERUSALEM (Reuters) – Israel will begin human trials on November 1 for a potential COVID-19 vaccine being developed by a research institute overseen by the Department of Defense after it receives regulatory approval, the ministry said on Sunday.
The Israeli Institute for Biological Research (IIBR) began animal testing for its "BriLife" vaccine in March. The Ministry of Health and a supervisory committee have now given the go-ahead to move to the next level.
80 volunteers between the ages of 18 and 55 will be monitored for three weeks to see if virus antibodies develop, the ministry said in a statement. A second phase, which is expected to start in December, will involve 960 people over the age of 18.
If this succeeds, a third large-scale phase with 30,000 volunteers is planned for April / May. If successful, the vaccine can then be approved for mass use.
The vaccine, the ministry said, has been well tested on a number of animal models and the IIBR has produced more than 25,000 doses for the first and second phases of clinical trials.
"Our ultimate goal is 15 million rations for the residents of the State of Israel and for our close neighbors," said IIBR Director Shmuel Shapira.
There are no internationally approved vaccines yet, but some are in advanced studies, including from Pfizer Inc (NYSE :), Johnson & Johnson, AstraZeneca (NYSE 🙂 Plc and Moderna (NASDAQ :).
Israel of 9 million people has begun easing a second nationwide coronavirus lockdown after a steady decline in the daily infection rate. The country recorded 692 new cases on Saturday – from a high of more than 9,000 a few weeks ago. 2,372 deaths have been reported due to the pandemic.
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