Photo Credit: Ministry of Defense Spokesperson’s Office
Sheba hospital nurse Hela Litwin and the volunteer, Segev Harel, Nov. 1, 2020

The clinical trial phase of the corona vaccine developed by the Ness Ziona Biological Institute began Sunday morning. The experiments will take place in Sheba Hospital, where the first volunteer has already arrived, and Hadassah Ein Kerem, Some 80 volunteers altogether will participate in this phase.

In the final phase, the vaccine will be tested on some 30,000 volunteers.

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The Defense Ministry Spokesperson’s office on Sunday issued a statement saying: “The first vaccine developed by the Israel Institute of Biological Research has been administered to the first volunteer at Sheba Hospital.”

According to Israel’s Health Ministry, there were 218 new verified patients yesterday on Saturday, and 7,946 test results obtained (Shabbat is a day when normally there are fewer tests in Israel). As of Sunday morning, there are 399 critical coronavirus patients in Israel, 176 of whom are on ventilators. 2,541 have died of the pandemic in Israel since the outbreak in February.

A nurse holds a test tube containing the Israeli-developed coronavirus vaccine at Hadassah Ein Karem hospital in Jerusalem, November 1, 2020. / Yonatan Sindel/Flash90

The first volunteers to receive the vaccine were Segev Harel, 26, from Sde Nehemia in the Upper Galilee, who received the injection at Sheba Hospital; and Aner Ottolenghi, 34, from Moshav Tlalim in the south.

Before receiving the injection at Hadassah Hospital in Jerusalem, Anar said: “I feel good, a little excited, and I encourage as many people as possible to join the experiment and help the entire public.”

The clinical trial phase will last several months and include three sub-phases, the first of which includes initial first safety tests on 80 healthy volunteers ages 18 to 55 at Sheba and Hadassah hospitals. Half of the volunteers will receive a vaccine and the other will receive a placebo. Over the course of three weeks, the researchers will test whether the volunteers who were vaccinated developed antibodies for the virus.

The second sub-phase is expected to begin in December, with safety tests to be conducted on 960 healthy volunteers ages 18 and over. If both sub-phases are successful, the third phase will begin in about six months, consisting of a large-scale trial to test the effectiveness of the vaccine on as many as 30,000 volunteers.

If this phase is completed successfully, it will be possible to approve the vaccine developed at the Israel Institute for Biological Research and vaccinate every Israeli citizen.

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David writes news at JewishPress.com.