MIGAL Galilee Research Institute is currently in the midst of the race to produce a coronavirus vaccine. Arutz Sheva spoke to research group head Itai Bloch, who talks about Israeli development that began with a vaccine against avian influenza from the coronavirus family.

The uniqueness of the vaccine being developed by the research group is that it is administered orally and not by injection, and Bloch explains the advantage of such a vaccine in that it passes through the respiratory and digestive tracts, where coronavirus is found. He says the benefits of such a vaccine have been proven in the past.

"When the reports of the new coronavirus began, we realized that the same development could be converted to suit human vaccination and that's where we started," says Bloch, adding that replicating the move from birds to humans is a fairly simple move. "We have already carried out the adjustment phase and we're in the development stages of the vaccine itself. It's an orderly route that we hope will yield good results," he says but stresses that vaccine tests will continue for a while to ensure "both its effectiveness and safety".

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"It's a new virus and a new vaccine. A lot of the technologies on offer are brand new and their effectiveness is unclear and it's not clear how they'll work in real time. So a lot of testing is done to make sure they're effective and relevant," he said. "But it can be said that unlike a drug, a vaccine can only be tested after a long time. A drug is given and seen how it works in real time. You can't vaccinate and infect people. It's unethical. So we won't know in the first stage which vaccines will be effective and which will not."

Bloch further notes that this virus "has the ability to acutely activate the immune system and these vaccines can cause the immune system to react acutely in a way dangerous to humans, as we hear reports of adverse events from different parts of the world."

Bloch adds that "we have a very different approach from most of the world. Most of the world is concentrated in the external system of the virus. There are two arms, the antibody arm that is injected and is supposed to neutralize the virus, and there's another arm of vaccine in the cellular system. Our vaccine is made up of elements that activate both of these arms. It should provide the most effective coverage possible for the vaccine." Read more at Arutz-7