Approaching the vaccine: The whole world seems to be waiting for just one thing – a corona vaccine. Last night at “Studio Friday” we discovered that it is much less far away than it seems. In fact, several companies around the world, including the Israel Biological Institute, are convinced that they have already succeeded in developing a vaccine. But, just before you throw off the masks and go out to cuddle with strangers, it is important to note that while the progress is amazing, it will take a few more months. When will Corona be vaccinated?
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It was one of the most crowded and dramatic weeks in the global race after the Corona virus vaccine, in which lights began to flicker consistently at the tip of the hallucination we were thrown into it. On Monday, the “Modern” company announced that it was entering the third and final phase of clinical trials, that is, a large-scale trial in tens of thousands of people. “This is actually the big and crucial stage because we intend to prove that the vaccine works not only to build antibodies in the blood, but to prevent the disease, which is what we all want to see,” explained Dr. Tal Zacks, medical director at Moderna.
Dr. Zacks recounted when he realized he had something significant in hand: “The first time we saw the first model, that really the vaccine, even if it was in mice, managed to stimulate their immune system, detect the virus and neutralize it, I knew we did not miss anything in a row, that we have Here’s the right vaccine. ”
Zacks added that the second big leap was when they saw the first clinical results. “It was clear that in humans we not only reach the levels of antibodies we see in patients, which is basically what we aspired to, but we manage to reach an even higher level than that,” he said. “And we manage to do it not in some of the subjects. We manage to do it in all of them.”
Modern has already signed an agreement to supply vaccines to Israel, as soon as they are available. The day after Moderna’s denial, pharma giant “Pfizer” also announced that it was starting Phase 3 of the trial, the last line on the road to the vaccine. “This is the third and final phase and we are going to recruit an order of magnitude of 30,000 subjects in 120 centers around the world,” said Dr. Maron Livneh, CEO of Pfizer Israel. “I sincerely hope that in October, given regulatory approvals from the FDA and the US authorities, we will offer the world 100 million vaccines. And of course by 2021 we plan to produce another 1.3 billion vaccine doses.”
How to accelerate vaccine production?
Both of these vaccines use a new technology based on RNA messenger, a molecule of a genetic material that knows how to produce custom-made protein in the immune system cells. “Modern” and “Pfizer” had an advantage because fortunately they already had this technology for other treatments and now only had to ride the global urgency and turn it around. However, there has not yet been a mass vaccine that has used this technology, and no one has any idea about long-term side effects.
“The beauty is that we actually cause the body to synthesize the viral protein without infecting with the virus,” explains Dr. Zacks. Off Medicine “in monkey experiments this vaccine comes within 3-4 days to completely neutralize the virus in the respiratory system. And this is very good news for” Modern “.
Developing a new vaccine is a very long and very controlled process, so the question arises – how do you get to stage 3 within half a year, assuming you do not cut corners that are forbidden? “It’s a process that normally takes a good few years, but now because of the state of emergency we are in – the process is kind of accelerated,” replied Dr. Erez Gerty, an immunologist at the Davidson Institute.
“First of all the technology itself, we could start very fast, that’s what allows us to increase production lines fast,” said Dr. Zacks. They, I usually wait a month or two for a meeting, here within days we get answers and they manage to reach agreements very quickly on what the next step is. ”
And what if there is a mutation in the virus and suddenly the vaccine stops working? Dr. Zacks also has an answer to this: “If there is such a mutation we will be in a much better position to respond because we have established the infrastructure to produce and proved that it really prevents the disease. “So now changing the sequence to some kind of mutation so that the vaccine will be suitable for the virus again will be a relatively easy step.”
The Chinese attitude and the concern it raises
Among the companies working on vaccines is Arcturus, which has signed an agreement with the Israeli government to supply vaccine doses, if and when there are any. The company is about to start soon in the clinical phase and the choice to develop an RNA vaccine that knows how to replicate itself is a key factor in their ability to shorten the process. Another company is GSK which is currently working in collaboration with three other companies. Of the vaccine and increases the immune response, which allows to produce more vaccine doses.Although the active ingredient has not yet been approved, GSK is already filling warehouses.
The Chinese on the other hand have their own approach to the problem of urgency. It is a regime that does not have too many conscientious objections and human rights is a phrase that does not translate well into Chinese. According to reports, the Chinese have already begun vaccinating mass vaccinations of government workers and soldiers. “They may or may not have volunteered. I really do not know what is going on there, but for them they have finished the process and they are starting to give the vaccine, it is happy for them,” Dr. Gerty claimed.
The most troubling thing about the Chinese vaccine is the technology on which it is based. This is the old technology of a killed virus, just like the polio vaccine. Effective is safe, but in order to produce it you need to grow large amounts of violent viruses in laboratories under high security before neutralizing it. “It could be successful and it could be a disaster, but it’s not something a Western country would risk and do, I hope,” Dr. Gerty concluded.
At the same time, no less than 160 companies are trying to develop a vaccine. Past rivals are collaborating in the face of the global threat in a way never seen before. But 93% of them, according to World Health Organization statistics, will not reach the finish line. Currently only six companies have reached Phase 3, the last line.
And of course there is the Biological Institute in Ness Ziona, which came up with a vaccine that shows excellent results in laboratory animals – close to one hundred percent efficacy. This vaccine, says a source in the defense establishment, is no less good than that of Modern. The Biological Institute is still fortified by its silence, human trials have not yet begun, but are already prepared to produce 10 to 15 million doses within a few months. As far as is known, only one dose per person of this vaccine will be required, and unlike companies from abroad, it is guaranteed that the first to receive it will be Israeli citizens.
Meanwhile all the countries of the world are in a race to stock up in advance, buying next year’s vaccines even before the trials have started. The main thing right now is to reserve. The UK, with 66 million inhabitants, has bought on paper a quarter of a billion vaccine doses of various types and from different manufacturers, most of which will not reach the production stage. But there is no other choice, everyone is currently buying cats in a sack but whoever does not buy a cat in a sack now – will not have a cat in 2021.