Israeli Defence Minister Naftali Bennett on Monday said he witnessed a “significant breakthrough” by the country’s biological research institute in developing an antibody to COVID-19 infection.
Bennett visited the labs of the Israel Institute for Biological Research (IIBR), a secretive unit that works under the Prime Minister’s Office, in Ness Ziona and was briefed by the research team, who revealed that the development phase of COVID-19 antibody or passive vaccine that attacks the virus and neutralizes it in the body has been complete, his office said in a statement cited by The Jerusalem Post.
IIBR is now working to patent its antibody and secure a contract for its commercial development. All legal procedures will be coordinated with the Defence Ministry.
“I am proud of the Biological Institute staff, who have made a major breakthrough,” Bennett was quoted as saying.
“The Jewish creativity and ingenuity brought about this amazing achievement,” he added.
Last month, IIBR announced that it had begun testing its antibody-based vaccine prototype on rodents.
IIBR is also involved in plasma collection from people who have recovered from infection with the new coronavirus, in the hope that this might help research, the Post reported further.
A second Israeli research team, MigVax, has also reported that it is close to completing the first phase of development of a coronavirus vaccine. Last week, it secured a USD 12 million investment from OurCrowd to accelerate the path to clinical trials.