Hadassah reports 23 Israelis vaccinated against COVID-19 in Phase I study

Ten more people are expected to be vaccinated at Hadassah next week and another seven the week after • Another 40 volunteers are taking part in the trial through Sheba Medical Center

Hadassah-University Medical Center doctors administer the country's COVID-19 vaccine (photo credit: HADASSAH)
Hadassah-University Medical Center doctors administer the country's COVID-19 vaccine
(photo credit: HADASSAH)
Hadassah-University Medical Center has vaccinated 23 people against the novel coronavirus using the Israel Institute for Biological Research’s coronavirus vaccine candidate Brilife, the hospital said Friday.
“All 23 participants in their 20s to 50s have had the vaccine in the last two weeks and are feeling well,” said Prof. Yossi Karko, director of the Center for Clinical Research at Hadassah. “They have not suffered from any unusual side effects or medical problems following the vaccine, other than temporary sensitivity at the site of injection – as expected.”
The hospital said that the patients report on their feelings each day through a dedicated application and that some have come in for medical examinations and required no treatment.
Ten more people are expected to be vaccinated at Hadassah next week and another seven the week after. In total, 40 people will be participating in the Phase I trial at the hospital.
Another 40 volunteers are taking part in the trial through Sheba Medical Center.
In the coming week, the country hopes to launch a Phase II study, which will take place at additional medical centers. In that study, volunteers will be up to the age of 85 and some could even have underlying medical conditions. 
“We wish us all success along the way,” Karko said.
Israel kicked off its Phase I trial of the IIBR vaccine on November 1. 
When Phase I is completed, if successful, Phase II will commence, testing the vaccine on 960 healthy volunteers over the age of 18. Phase II is expected to begin in December at medical centers across the country. That phase is meant to complete safety tests and pinpoint the right doses, as well as to continue to gauge effectiveness.
If the first two phases are successful, a Phase III trial of 30,000 volunteers will begin next April or May for the final stage. Once completed successfully, the vaccine can be approved, and the population can be vaccinated against the virus.
IIBR’s vaccine candidate is based on a well-known method of vaccination, the institute has said. What is new is the use of a vesicular stomatitis virus (VSV) – a type of virus that does not cause disease in humans. Through genetic engineering, proteins are attached to the VSV virus to form coronavirus “crowns” that are identified by the body as COVID-19. As a result, the body produces antibodies against it.
The vaccine has already been tested on pigs and found to be effective.
Israel is also working to procure vaccine candidates from abroad. It has signed contracts with three American companies: Pfizer, Moderna and Arcturus.