JERUSALEM, Israel – Israel’s Institute for Biological Research (IIBR) will begin conducting human trials on its coronavirus vaccine by the end of the month.
Defense Minister Benny Gantz announced the progress after visiting the government-funded laboratory Monday night. He also met with Shmuel Shapira, the institute’s head.
“We are in a very significant moment. Prof. Shapira and the entire team did a fantastic job, they are the scientific frontier of the State of Israel and they have brought the vaccine to a stage where we can begin human trials soon,” Gantz said, adding that the vaccine will be called “Brilife.” The name comes from Hebrew. “Bri” is the Hebrew word for health, and “il” stands for “Israel” and “life.”
“If this process succeeds, it will be great news for the State of Israel and maybe for all nations of the world,” Gantz said.
Prof. Shapira said the institute began working on the vaccine in early February and is almost complete.
The lab announced in June it had successfully completed trials on rodents.
The news comes as Israel’s infection rate continues to decrease following a crippling second lockdown. There are under 30,000 active cases in the country and more than 2,200 people have died.