FIT-WebQoof: Has Israel Discovered a Vaccine For Coronavirus?
Fact Check: There are several vaccines being tested for coronavirus. Is Israel's vaccine among them?
There are multiple posts doing the round on Facebook and other social media that claim Israel has discovered a vaccine for the novel coronavirus. Is it accurate?
We fact check these claims.
The message shows an image of a vial with the label that reads Coronavirus vaccine on it. The text claims, "No More Coronavirus Deaths." with "God bless Israelites, they have discovered vaccine for coronaviruses."
The same information has been shared in a number of other posts.
Has Israel Created a Vaccine Against the Novel Coronavirus?
The World Health Organisation has made it clear that currently there is no vaccine ready to be deployed to tackle the novel coronavirus that has spread to over 100 countries and infected over 100,000 people. Many countries are racing to develop a vaccine, and many have a vaccine ready to go into animal trials, but most are in early stages.
Experts say at best a mass produced vaccine will be ready by mid next year.
Now, Israel is among the countries where research for a COVID-19 vaccine is taking place. MIGAL Research Institute in Israel issued a press release in February that said that they are working towards developing a COVID-19 vaccine and they have had a breakthrough.
What they have created is a vaccine against avian coronavirus Infectious Bronchitis Virus (IBV), which affects poultry and this vaccine has already passed the clinical tests at the Israeli Veterinary Institute.
The IBV vaccine does given them a boost up - and the team called it "pure luck" that they had selected a poultry coronavirus to test. The press release says that this vaccine will be "adapted soon and create a human vaccine against COVID-19."
Israel’s Minister of Science and Technology, Ofir Akunis, was quoted as saying,
“Congratulations to MIGAL on this exciting breakthrough. I am confident that there will be further rapid progress, enabling us to provide a needed response to the grave global COVID-19 threat.”
The release further states, "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, enable the initiation of production of a vaccine to counter the Coronavirus epidemic."
The Race for a Vaccine is Taking Place World Over
Human trials for a possible vaccine could start very soon, with a US company already recruiting potential volunteers for testing. University of Nebraska in the US has recruited its first volunteers to test Remdesivir, an antiviral drug that was developed for Ebola. These volunteers had tested positive for COVID-19 on the cruise ship Diamond Princess.
Kaiser Permanente Washington Health Research Institute is recruiting healthy people, not those infected with the virus, for their study.
This acceleration of the vaccine development has been made possible thanks to the rapid genetic sequencing and open publication of the virus by Chinese researchers.
Yes, a race is on to find a vaccine that can work on humans. Trails are taking place in several labs around the world including Israel. But are these vaccines ready to be deployed and made available to prevent deaths? Not yet.
What is happening is that existing drugs are being repurposed to treat specific symptoms of the novel coronavirus.
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