Israel commences human trials with COVID-19 vaccine

November 1, 2020 by Aryeh Savir - TPS
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Hadassah Hospital in Jerusalem and Sheba Hospital in Tel Aviv commenced on Sunday with human trials with the Coronavirus (COVID-19) vaccine, a critical phase towards the completion of the development of the serum.

Magen David Adom medical team members at the drive-through coronavirus testing station in the city of Petaẖ Tiqwa. Petaẖ Tiqwa, Oct 16, 2020. Photo by Eitan Elhadez-Barak/TPS

With the completion of the preparations, research, development, and receipt of all approvals from the Ministry of Health and the Helsinki Committee for Medical Experiments in Humans, the Israel Institute for Biological Research (IIBR) will commence a trial on some 25,000 volunteers in the coming months.

The phase of clinical trials in humans will last several months and will include three phases, the first safety tests on 80 healthy volunteers aged 18-55, which started Sunday.

The first phase of the trial begins on Sunday with two volunteers, and depending on their responses to the vaccine, will be gradually expanded to 80 people. Each volunteer will receive an injection, whether the vaccine or placebo.

During the trial, the experimenters will examine whether any side effects have occurred and whether antibodies to the virus have appeared, indicating a response to the virus in the volunteers who received the vaccine.

The first volunteer to receive the injection at Hadassah is a 34-year-old doctoral student from the south of the country, who volunteered to take part in a step that is considered the most significant.

The first person to receive the vaccine at Sheba is a 26-year-old student from the north.

Phase two includes safety tests on 960 healthy volunteers aged 18 and over. The trial is expected to begin in December. This stage is designed to complete vaccine safety tests, pinpoint the right doses, and continue to test measures of its effectiveness.

The third phase is a large-scale trial to test the effectiveness of the vaccine with the participation of up to 30,000 volunteers. The experiment is scheduled to begin in April or May, depending on the success of the first two phases.

The vaccine was named “Brilife.” Br is the beginning of the word Briut in Hebrew, which means health, il stands for the State of Israel, and the third part is the word life.

The IIBR aims to produce 15 million doses once the development is completed.

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