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Tel Aviv Professor Obtains U.S. Patent for Coronavirus Vaccine

[additional-authors]
April 20, 2020
Israeli medical worker holds a swab test for coronavirus at a drive-through site during a presntation for the press before opening on March 20, 2020 in Tel Aviv, Israel. (Photo by Amir Levy/Getty Images)

A Tel Aviv University professor scored a patent from the United States Patent and Trademark Office on April 19 to develop a vaccine for COVID-19.

The professor, Jonathan Gershoni, told The Jerusalem Post that he used his research on vaccines for Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) and Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) to design the COVID-19 vaccine. COVID-19 is related to SARS and MERS.

The vaccine would create antibodies to attack COVID-19’s receptor binding motif (RBM), the part of the virus that enables it to infect cells in the human body.

Gershoni told the Post that although the vaccine is still more than a year away from being completed, he believes there is only a third of the process left to complete the vaccine.

“Development of such an RBM-based vaccine should take months and then would need to be tested in Phase 1, 2 and 3 clinical trials, which would then take up to a year,” he said.

Gershoni also told Zman, The Times of Israel’s Hebrew website, that the vaccine still needs a pharmaceutical company to take hold of it, and there have been preliminary talks on the matter.

“[The vaccine] needs a company that understands how to integrate our template for a vaccine into their product,” Gershoni said. “That is something that can take months.”

Israel’s Galilee Research Institute (MIGAL) and Israel’s Institute for Biological Research (IIBR) have also been working on COVID-19 vaccines. The former is reportedly in the final stages of development; the latter is currently being tested on rodents. Additionally, various Israeli treatments for the virus have seen initial success in clinical trials.

As of this writing, there are 13,713 confirmed cases in Israel and 177 deaths from the virus.

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