A Vaccine Is On The Way – Soon?

By Shlomo Maital

Today’s Jerusalem Post daily paper, published in Jerusalem, brings some much-needed good news about progress in creating a vaccine against COVID-19.

The report notes:

A team of Israeli researchers says that they are days away from completing the production of the active component of a coronavirus vaccine that could be tested on humans as early as June 1. “We are in the final stages and within a few days we will hold the proteins – the active component of the vaccine,” Dr. Chen Katz, group leader of MIGAL’s biotechnology group, told The Jerusalem Post.   In late February, MIGAL [The Galilee Research Institute] committed to completing production of its vaccine within three weeks and having it on the market in 90 days. Katz said they were slightly delayed because it took longer than expected to receive the genetic construct that they ordered from China due to the airways being closed and it having to be rerouted.”

     (Note: the ‘genetic construct’ from China, is simply the RNA ribonucleic acid that defines COVID-19 — shame that cancellation of flights from China to Israel caused the delay – every day counts!).

   “As a reminder, for the past four years, researchers at MIGAL scientists have been developing a vaccine against infectious bronchitis virus (IBV), which causes a bronchial disease affecting poultry. The effectiveness of the vaccine has been proven in preclinical trials carried out at the Veterinary Institute.”

   Amazing that chickens, maybe, and their vaccine can help save human lives?

   The report continues:   “Our basic concept was to develop the technology and not specifically a vaccine for this kind or that kind of virus,” said Katz. “The scientific framework for the vaccine is based on a new protein expression vector, which forms and secretes a chimeric soluble protein that delivers the viral antigen into mucosal tissues by self-activated endocytosis, causing the body to form antibodies against the virus.”

   What does this mean? Basically: The vaccine helps the body produce a key protein able to penetrate the cells infected by COVID-19 in the throat and lung mucous. How does it penetrate?   Endocytosis is “the process of actively transporting molecules into the cell by engulfing it with its membrane.” This helps the cell produce antibodies that kill the virus, before it can kill the cell and reproduce, creating millions of new viruses that spread through the lungs.

     “In preclinical trials, the team demonstrated that the oral vaccination induces high levels of specific anti-IBV antibodies, “ a MAGAL expert said.

     A worldwide race is on, to develop an effective safe COVID-19 vaccine.   Whoever wins, humanity will be the big winner.   This is one race that can benefit everyone, even the spectators.