An Israeli company working on a COVID-19 vaccine will begin human trials this summer, a senior company official said on Wednesday.
MigVax, an affiliate of the Migal Galilee Research Institute, will conduct safety and efficacy assessment in rodents starting next month.
Phase 1 of clinical trials in humans will start during the summer and last six to nine months, said Professor Itamar Shalit, senior MigVax researcher and director, during a webinar hosted by the Israeli crowdfunding investment platform OurCrowd, as reported by The Jerusalem Post.
The startup is working to adapt a vaccine against infectious bronchitis virus (IBV)—a coronavirus strain causing bronchial disease in poultry—for human use.
According to The Jerusalem Post, “MigVax researchers aim to adapt the vaccine for the avian coronavirus into a new oral sub-unit human vaccine against COVID-19, based on their great genetic similarity and identical infection mechanism. Except for some required genetic adjustments, researchers say the same vaccination concepts should apply in humans.”
MigVax said it will be possible to quickly and inexpensively manufacture millions of doses of the potential vaccine, which is made using bacterial fermentation. Since it does not include the virus itself, researchers said it will also be safe to use on immune-compromised patients and has fewer risks of side effects.
On Wednesday, MigVax announced that it had secured a $12 million investment led by OurCrowd to help accelerate efforts to develop the vaccine.