After four years of research funded by Israel’s Ministry of Science and Technology, MIGAL’s researchers have developed an effective vaccine against avian Coronavirus Infectious Bronchitis Virus (IBV), to be adapted soon and create a human vaccine against COVID-19, according to the institute’s statement.
Israel’s Minister of Science and Technology, Ofir Akunis, congratulated MIGAL on this exciting breakthrough and said, “I am confident that there will be further rapid progress, enabling us to offer a needed response to the grave global COVID-19 threat.” Akunis has instructed the director-general of the Ministry of Science and Technology to fast-track all approval processes to bring the human vaccine to market as quickly as possible.
MIGAL has achieved a scientific breakthrough that will lead to the rapid creation of a vaccine against Coronavirus. This possibility was identified as a by-product of MIGAL’s development of a vaccine against Infectious Bronchitis Virus (IBV), a disease affecting poultry, whose effectiveness has been proven in pre-clinical trials carried out at the Volcani Institute. MIGAL has now made required genetic adjustments to adapt the vaccine to COVID-19, the human strain of coronavirus, and is working to achieve the safety approvals that will enable in-vivo testing. As well as allows the initiation of production of a vaccine to counter the Coronavirus epidemic currently spreading throughout the world.
From research conducted at MIGAL, it has been found that the poultry coronavirus has high genetic similarity to the human COVID-19, and that it uses the same infection mechanism, a fact that increases the likelihood of achieving an effective human vaccine in a very short period of time.
Commenting on the news, David Zigdon, chief executive officer of MIGAL Galilee Research Institute, said, “Given the urgent global need for a human coronavirus vaccine, we are doing everything we can to accelerate development. Our goal is to produce the vaccine during the next 8-10 weeks and to achieve safety approval in 90 days. This will be an oral vaccine, making it particularly accessible to the general public. We are currently in intensive discussions with potential partners that can help accelerate the in-human trials phase and expedite the completion of final product development and regulatory activities.”
Chen Katz, MIGAL’s Biotechnology group leader, commented, “The scientific framework for the vaccine is based on a new protein expression vector. This forms and secretes a chimeric soluble protein that delivers the viral antigen into mucosal tissues by self-activated endocytosis, causing the body to form antibodies against the virus. In pre-clinical (IN-VIVO) trials, MIGAL’s researchers have demonstrated that the oral vaccination induces high levels of specific anti-IBV antibodies.”