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June 16, 2020 10:26 am

Israel Signs Deal to Acquire COVID-19 Vaccine From US Company Moderna

avatar by CTech / YNet News

Scientists at work in laboratory. Photo: Wikimedia Commons.

CTech – Israel has signed a deal to procure a coronavirus (Covid-19) vaccine, already in advanced stages of development, from US biotech company Moderna, according to local reports.

Ministry of Health officials confirmed on Sunday that negotiations were ongoing and reportedly an agreement was signed on Tuesday morning under which Moderna will supply Israel with vaccines, assuming it proves it developed an effective one.

Moderna announced it was concluding its phase two testing for the vaccine and plans to begin phase three with 30,000 participants in July. The company claimed it could start production of the vaccine as soon as September of this year.

In phase one, the vaccine was administered to 45 volunteers and showed promising results and was found to be safe. Phase two, which is nearly complete, was to test the safety and efficacy of the vaccine that was shown to be safe for use on humans. Although no data was made available to the public, results are believed to reveal those who were vaccinated showed an increased amount of antibodies surpassing that of patients who have recovered from the virus.

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Moderna’s vaccine called mRNA-1273 counters Covid-19’s ability to enter cells by preventing the production of the spike protein which would allow the virus to latch on to the cell, thereby preventing the disease from developing and allowing the body’s immune system to destroy the virus before any disease occurs.

If the third phase of testing by Moderna is successful, the company believes it would be able to begin mass production of a vaccine in the coming months with an estimated one billion doses completed by the middle of 2021.

Moderna is not the only pharma company working on a vaccine. Chinese company CanSino has also reported success in its first phase of testing on humans, which ended in April. It also says it is nearing completion of phase two and expects to begin phase three in the course of the summer. The company’s vaccine works similarly to Moderna’s version and a successful trial would mean the population of China would likely benefit from it first.

British and Swiss company AstraZeneca is also developing a vaccine. The company is cooperating with Oxford University scientists in the production of ChAdOxi, tested thus far on animals including chimpanzees, and is preparing to begin testing on humans next week. Residents of the UK are set to be first in line to receive the vaccine.

The American pharmaceutical giant Pfizer has already produced a vaccine, which the company claims tricks the body into thinking it has been invaded by Covid-19, promoting the production of antibodies to fight off the virus. The vaccine, called BNT162, which contains various proteins, will be in first and second phase testing within weeks.

Johnson & Johnson also reported it is set to begin mass production of a vaccine. AD26, which was developed by the company, will begin phase one of clinical trials in September.

French Sanofi reported it was in collaboration with GSK to develop an adjuvanted vaccine, using innovative technology from both companies. It plans to begin clinical trials on humans in the next couple of months. Using adjuvant technology would reduce the number of antibodies needed to produce vaccines, therefore accelerating time to market.

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