The European Union announced it will allocate an additional 37.5 million euros toward developing a vaccine or drug treatment for the coronavirus, according to a release disseminated to the press on Monday.
The EU had already allocated €10 million to the cause.
The money will come through the Horizon 2020 program, considered the biggest EU research and innovation program. It has invested nearly €80 in projects since 2014.
The new allocation will be divided between 17 selected projects and will include 136 research teams from the EU and around the world that are already working on vaccine development, drug therapies and diagnostic tools to identify, treat and prevent the virus. The announcement comes weeks after Israeli scientists announced that they are on the cusp of developing the first vaccine against the novel coronavirus, and that if all goes as planned, the vaccine could be ready within a few weeks and available in 90 days.For the past four years, a team of MIGAL scientists has been developing a vaccine against infectious bronchitis virus (IBV), which causes a bronchial disease affecting poultry. The effectiveness of the vaccine has been proven in preclinical trials carried out at the Veterinary Institute. Now, they are adapting their efforts to focus on the human coronavirus.
“All we need to do is adjust the system to the new sequence,” said Dr. Chen Katz, MIGAL’s biotechnology group leader. “We are in the middle of this process, and hopefully in a few weeks we will have the vaccine in our hands. Yes, in a few weeks, if it all works, we would have a vaccine to prevent coronavirus.”Science and Technology Minister Ofir Akunis said he has instructed his ministry’s director-general to fast-track all approval processes with the goal of bringing the human vaccine to market as quickly as possible, likely within the next three months for Israelis.In addition, over the weekend, a Texas-based genetic engineering firm claimed to have developed a vaccine for the coronavirus. The company will soon begin testing it on animals to meet licensing requirements, according to a report by Fox News.