Anar Ottolenghi, a 34-year-old doctoral student in immunology, was one of the first Israelis to be inoculated on Sunday morning as part of Phase I clinical trial of an Israeli-made coronavirus vaccine at Hadassah Hospital Ein Kerem.
“I feel good, excited,” Ottolenghi said. “I want to encourage as many people as possible to join the experiment and help the entire public.”
The Israeli vaccine, known as “Brilife,” was developed by the Israel Institute for Biological Research (IIBR), and Sunday marked the launch of its Phase I clinical trial, in which 80 healthy volunteers between the ages of 18 and 55 will participate – 40 at Hadassah and 40 at Sheba Medical Center in Tel Hashomer. Each volunteer will receive an injection, with some receiving the vaccine and some receiving a placebo.
Volunteers will be monitored over the course of three weeks to assess the vaccine’s safety. Researchers will also examine whether volunteers develop antibodies to the coronavirus. If Phase I yields successful results, Phase II will probably begin in December with 960 healthy volunteers at medical centers throughout the country. Phase II will continue to monitor the vaccine’s safety and gauge effectiveness and also pinpoint appropriate doses. If the first two phases are successful, a Phase III trial of 30,000 volunteers will begin in April or May.
Prof. Shmuel Shapira, head of IIBR and former deputy director-general of Hadassah Ein Kerem, noted, “IIBR has developed many vaccines.” He continued, “Six years before this crisis, we had already started preparing for such an event.”
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu commented, “The true exit from the coronavirus crisis is in the development of vaccines. With God’s help, we will have a vaccine made here in Israel.”
Hadassah Ein Kerem just reported that two more Israelis were vaccinated at the hospital on Monday: Jerusalemite Effi, age 26, a computer scientist originally from England, and Eli Ein-Dor, age 50, a programmer with the Israeli Port Authority.
“I am neither a doctor nor a nurse, so in my eyes, the best way to contribute is by participating in the trial,” Effi said. Read more about Effi.
Read the full story in The Jerusalem Post.