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Israel’s COVID-19 vaccine being delayed by red tape, bio institute head says

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Israel’s domestically produced coronavirus vaccine will only be ready for distribution to the public in the summer of 2021, the head of the institute manufacturing it said Monday, complaining that over-regulation and lack of sufficient government support have caused significant delays in its trial process.

Some 15 million doses are being produced of the vaccine, called Brilife, which unlike those manufactured by international competitors Pfizer, Moderna and AstraZeneca is given in a single dose, according to Prof. Shmuel Shapira, the director-general of the Defense Ministry’s Israel Institute for Biological Research.

Speaking at a meeting of the Knesset Science and Technology Committee, Shapira expressed rare criticism of the government for signing deals for millions of vaccines with non-Israeli firms, which are far ahead of the Israeli vaccine’s schedule.

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“There is a tendency to give respect to companies whose mother tongue is English or sometimes Russian,” he said, also referring to a Russian vaccine that Israel has signed a deal to purchase, but which has faced concerns about its opaque trial and approval process.

“I think there is very good and responsible work being done, free of financial considerations, even though we are Hebrew-speakers,” Shapira told the committee. “We would be happy to get the same support as giant firms that make 30 times more than us.

“Had we not faced over-regulation, we would have........

© The Times of Israel

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