The Health Ministry is refusing to convene to approve the clinical trials of a COVID-19 vaccine, the stage that includes testing on humans and one that would rapidly decrease the time it would take to provide a viable vaccine to the public, Channel 12 reported. The Israel Institute for Biological Research (IIBR) recently hosted US Ambassador to Israel David Friedman to examine the possibility of shortening the United States' FDA (Food and Drug Administration) approval to advance in vaccine clinical trials. Yet, according to the IIBR, the Health Ministry is refusing to comply and convene in order to approve the third and next stage in trials. The third stage, which is the human trial stage of a potential vaccine, is one that many other countries developing a vaccine have already reached. However, the Health Ministry is allegedly requesting an additional allotment of time - until October - to allow for further investigation. Were the Health Ministry to give approval for this stage, the IIBR states it would be possible to develop a vaccine as early as 2021.The IIBR is an organization that, while working under the auspices of the Prime Minister's Office, also works closely with the Defense Ministry. Former defense minister Naftali Bennett spoke of the Health Ministry's refusal to move forward in an announcement he made via his public Facebook account on Thursday. "The Institute for Biological Research in Ness Ziona has been preparing for years for an event such as an outbreak from the COVID-19 family," Bennett wrote. "The institute's scientists worked arduously for 24 hours a day and managed to develop a vaccine and register a patent on it. The vaccine worked excellently in the lab, and excellently in animal trials. "In order to complete the development, experiments need to be done on humans, like the rest of the world is already doing. Yet Health Ministry officials have not found time to convene to approve the experiment," he concluded.When approached by N12 for a statement on the matter, the Health Ministry stated: "Due to the confidentiality of information and the sensitivity of the issue, the ministry cannot elaborate on these issues."In April, the Defense Ministry announced IIBR had completed a groundbreaking scientific development, identifying an antibody that neutralizes the COVID-19.The institute has been playing a key role in the fight against the deadly virus since early February after being asked by Netanyahu. In April, it announced it had begun testing a COVID-19 vaccine prototype on rodents.Additionally, on Thursday, Health Minister Yuli Edelstein announced that Israel is expected to sign an agreement worth hundreds of millions of dollars with Californian company Arcturus, which is currently in the advanced testing stages of a COVID-19 vaccine.The company, which would be the second vaccine producer that Israel signs with following Moderna, has already had successful testing with animals and is moving into human testing and will receive Israel's funds according to the levels of success of the various stages of testing. If the company manages to produce a successful vaccine, it will provide Israel with four million.Anna Ahronheim and Tamar Beeri contributed to this report.