According to an Israeli press snippet, research scientists at the Institute for Biological Research in Israel are purportedly working on the development of a vaccine for COVID-19. Although no material fact can be verified, sources report that the scientists have made a breakthrough in understanding the biological mechanism and qualities of the COVID-19 virus, such as the possibly that this will advance the diagnostic capability as well as production of antibodies for existing patients—could this portend a vaccine? The institute itself reports there are 50 scientists working intensely on finding a medical remedy for the virus but that there is nothing to report.
Who is Institute for Biological Research?
An Israeli government defense research institute, the Institute for Biological Research (IBR) specializes in biology, medicinal chemistry, and environmental science. They work at this institute is highly sensitive and most of the time maintained in strict secrecy. The research institute employs 350—about 150 of them scientists. The original article originated from Haaretz.
Professor Shmuel Shapira, MD, MPH runs the program as Director General—he is also a professor at Hebrew University Faculty of Medicine.
Official Response: Over 1/3 of all Scientists Targeting COVID-19 Vaccine
Apparently, someone from Haaretz approached the Defense Ministry about this news and a spokesperson stated: “There has been no breakthrough in the efforts of the biological institute to find a vaccine for the coronavirus or to develop testing kits. The institute’s work is conducted according to an orderly work plan and it will take time. If and when there will be something to report, it will be done in an orderly fashion. The biological institute is a world-renowned research and development agency, which relies on experienced researchers and scientists with great knowledge and quality infrastructures. There are now more than 50 experienced scientists working at the institute on researching and developing a medical remedy for the virus.“
So, no substantive information exists that the IBR is on to a cure but it has been confirmed that they are now focusing intensely (50 scientists out of 150 total) on studying potential vaccines. The global race to find the COVID-19 vaccine is one.
Professor Shmuel Shapira, MD, MPH