The Defense Ministry has announced that the Israel Institute for Biological Research (IIBR), a secretive unit that works under the Prime Minister’s Office, has completed the development phase of COVID-19 antibody or passive vaccine, and is now working to patent it and commence development in coordination with the Israeli Defense Ministry.
According to news reports by Times of Israel and Jerusalem Post, Defense Minister Naftali Bennett visited the Ness Ziona-based lab on Monday, where he was briefed by the research team about a breakthrough antibody that attacks and neutralizes the virus in the body.
“I am proud of the Biological Institute staff, who have made a major breakthrough,” Bennett said Monday. “The Jewish creativity and ingenuity brought about this amazing achievement.”
Last month, IIBR announced that it had begun testing its antibody-based vaccine prototype on rodents, and it is unclear if this development is connected to the one previously announced.
In addition, IIBR has been involved in plasma collection from people who have recovered from coronavirus with the hope that this might help research.
MigVax, another Israeli research team, reported that it is close to completing phase one of development of a coronavirus vaccine. It recently secured a $12 million investment from OurCrowd to accelerate the path to clinical trials.
At an international donors conference earlier in the day, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu pledged $60 million (about NIS 210 million) for the joint fight against the coronavirus pandemic.
“To ensure both the public health and national prosperity, we must all work together on improving diagnostics, accelerating therapies and ultimately developing a vaccine,” the Prime Minister said in a prerecorded message to the virtual pledging event. “I am confident that Israel’s leading research institutions, its world renowned scientists and our unique culture of innovation can enable us to play an important role in advancing solutions on all three fronts. We hope to work with other countries to leverage our unique capabilities to find solutions for the benefit of all.”