06 May 2009

Israel to the Rescue! .. But is it Kosher?

health & science

A revolutionary vaccine against all types of influenza is scheduled to enter phase 1 clinical trials in humans in the next few days. The vaccine, and Israeli development, is intended to provide universal multi-season/multi-strain protection against most human influenza virus strains, as well as the Avian flu, for a period of five years.

This would enable a long-term planning of vaccine production and prevent shortages in national reserves.

The Health Ministry is expected to provide the final authorization for the first clinical trials, which will take place at the Sourasky Medical Center in Tel Aviv. The outline for the trial was developed jointly by the Clinical Trial Unit and BiondVax Pharmaceuticals Ltd,, which is developing the universal vaccination in accordance with international and FDA standards.

The vaccination is the result of a 20-year study conducted by a team of researchers led by Israel Prize laureate Prof. Ruth Arnon. The technology on which it is based is meant to provide protection against a wide range of virus strain, including future strains. Dr. Ron Babkov, Biondvax's founder and CEO, explained that in addition to being a multi-season vaccine, the new vaccination is not influences by the changing flu strains.

It can be effective both in cases of an epidemic – which is limited in geographic scope and is mainly seasonal, and a pandemic – which is a worldwide outbreak of severe influenza which takes place once in a decade.

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