Israeli defence ministry denies ‘significant breakthrough’ on covid-19 vaccine
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Israeli defence ministry denies ‘significant breakthrough’ on covid-19 vaccine

A spokeswoman for the defence ministry played down a report scientists at the Biological Research Institute are close to announcing a vaccine

Workers wearing protective suits disinfect a bus as a preventive measure amid fears over the spread of the coronavirus, in Tel Aviv on March 9, 2020,  (Photo by: Tomer Neuberg-JINIPIX)
Workers wearing protective suits disinfect a bus as a preventive measure amid fears over the spread of the coronavirus, in Tel Aviv on March 9, 2020, (Photo by: Tomer Neuberg-JINIPIX)

Israel’s defence ministry has denied a report scientists in the country made a “significant breakthrough” in developing a coronavirus vaccine.

Sources told Haaretz this week researchers at Israel’s Biological Research Institute are expected to announce a vaccine in the coming days.

According to the report, the team made a “significant” breakthrough in understanding the virus, but further tests will be carried over many months.

But a spokeswoman for the defence ministry told Jewish News on Thursday the process will “require time.”

“Currently there is no breakthrough in the efforts of the Israel Institute for Biological Research, to develop a vaccine or testing kits for the COVID-19 virus. The institute’s activities are taking place within the framework of a working plan, which will require time,” she said in a statement.

She added: “Over 50 experienced scientists are currently working on the research and development of a medical response to the virus. This group is among the world’s leaders in terms of their shared knowledge and experience in biological research.”

Meanwhile in the UK, the prime minister Boris Johnson is to chair a Cobra meeting later on Thursday to discuss whether to move into the “delay” stage.

The phase would involve social distancing measures, such as limiting large gathering, school closures and encouraging home-working.

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