Photo Credit: Israeli Defense Ministry Spokesperson's Office.
Vials of the experimental COVID-19 vaccine from the Israel Institute for Biological Research.

A memorandum of understanding was announced Monday between the Israel Institute for Biological Research in Ness Tziona and US-based NRx Pharmaceuticals — an international company traded on the NASDAQ — to globally develop, manufacture and market the rights to Israel’s locally developed COVID-19 vaccine.

The vaccine, “BriLife” has been undergoing clinical trials in Israel since last year.


“I anticipate that with this agreement, we will be able to complete the development of the vaccine and enable Israel to produce vaccines independently, because as we have seen recently, coronavirus is not going anywhere,” Defense Minister Benny Gantz commented.

“At the same time, the IIBR and the entire defense establishment will continue to take part in the national effort to counter the effects of this pandemic. I would like to thank the scientists of the institute, who never stop working to secure us – whether it be in the area of defense or health,” Gantz added.

The American pharmaceutical firm (NRx) said Monday that it has arranged for rapid Phase IIb and Phase 3 testing on tens of thousands of volunteers in Israel, Ukraine and Georgia.

The Israel Institute for Biological Research will provide technical assistance to NRx, while receiving royalty and milestone remuneration, the US pharmaceutical firm said, adding the company has also committed to providing all required doses of BriLife for Israel’s population.

Scientists who produced the Israeli vaccine used a different technology than that which produced the mRNA vaccines for Pfizer BioNTech and Moderna, and the one-shot Johnson & Johnson vaccine, also produced in the United States. None of the three contains a live virus; for that matter, no vaccine in the US is authorized to contain live virus, according to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

None of the vaccines authorized for use by the Federal Drug Administration (FDA) contain a live virus, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says.

That is also what makes the BriLife vaccine different: the Israeli domestic vaccine is produced with a self-propagating, live-virus vaccine.

BriLife is to be administered via injection, at least initially, similarly to those already in use in the Jewish State.


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Hana Levi Julian is a Middle East news analyst with a degree in Mass Communication and Journalism from Southern Connecticut State University. A past columnist with The Jewish Press and senior editor at Arutz 7, Ms. Julian has written for, and other media outlets, in addition to her years working in broadcast journalism.