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Israel’s homegrown vaccine to be tested in Georgia, Ukraine under new deal

The Defense Ministry-run Israel Institute for Biological Research (IIBR) has inked a memorandum of understanding with NRx Pharmaceuticals to complete the clinical trials of its homegrown COVID-19 vaccine, according to a statement.

NRx Pharmaceuticals will push the vaccine, known as Brilife, to third-stage clinical trials, which will be conducted on tens of thousands of volunteers in Georgia, Ukraine and Israel, the statement says. The pharmaceutical company will then oversee its commercialization.

Defense Minister Benny Gantz visits a laboratory in the Israel Institute for Biological Research on October 25, 2020. (Defense Ministry)

Defense Minister Benny Gantz hails the agreement, calling it “excellent news.”

“I anticipate that with this agreement, we will be able to complete the development of the vaccine and enable Israel to produce vaccines independently, because as we have seen recently – the coronavirus is not going anywhere,” says Gantz.

“At the same time, the IIBR and the entire defense establishment will continue to take part in the national effort to counter the effects of this pandemic. I would like to thank the scientists of the institute, who never stop working to protect us – whether it be in the area of defense or health.”

The Israeli vaccine is still deep in the trial phase. In December, the Institute for Biological Research successfully completed the first stage of testing and started the second phase, which is ongoing.

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