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Israeli scientists believe they have discovered a coronavirus cure

An Israeli scientist works at a laboratory in the upper Galilee in northern Israel [AFP/Getty]

Date of publication: 12 March, 2020

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Israel's Institute for Biological Research has made significant breakthroughs in understanding the virus and is reportedly on the edge of announcing a vaccine.
Scientists in Israel say they are expected to announce the development of a vaccine for the novel coronavirus COVID-19 in the coming days.  

Israel's Institute for Biological Research has made significant breakthroughs in understanding the virus and is on the edge of announcing a vaccine, medical sources told Israeli newspaper Haaretz.

Scientists at the institute have also improved diagnostic capacity for the virus and harnessed the production of antibodies to treat those with the disease, sources said.

Once a vaccine for coronavirus is announced, it will undergo a series of tests and experiments lasting over several months before it is deemed safe to use.

When asked about the development, Israel's defence ministry denied the reports.

"There has been no breakthrough in the efforts of the biological institute to find a vaccine for the coronavirus or to develop testing kits. The institute's work is conducted according to an orderly work plan and it will take time. If and when there will be something to report, it will be done in an orderly fashion," it said.

"The biological institute is a world-renowned research and development agency, which relies on experienced researchers and scientists with great knowledge and quality infrastructures. There are now more than 50 experienced scientists working at the institute on researching and developing a medical remedy for the virus."

The Institute for Biological Research was tasked by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to develop a vaccine for coronavirus on 1 February.

There have been around 100 confirmed cases of coronavirus in Israel, many of whom had recently returned from abroad.

Earlier this week, Israel imposed a two-week quarantine on all travellers entering the country, toughening already significant travel restrictions.

Entry has been barred to almost all non-residents arriving from France, Germany, Spain, Austria and Switzerland, with Israel declaring that arrivals from those nations could only enter if they could prove they had a place to stay in quarantine.

Since COVID-19 emerged in the Chinese city of Wuhan in December, scientists around the world have been frantically working to find a vaccine.

However, the development process takes months and is likely too late for the current outbreak.


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