Though the coronavirus continues to spread around the globe, causing widespread panic and market drops, there is some good news on the horizon after scientists in Israel announced that they were close to developing a vaccine. In a statement, Israeli research institute MIGAL claimed that they were "weeks" away from the medical breakthrough and hoped medication could be distributed worldwide within 90 days.
"Given the urgent global need for a human coronavirus vaccine, we are doing everything we can to accelerate development," said MIGAL CEO David Zigdon, via Newsweek.
"Our goal is to produce the vaccine during the next eight to 10 weeks, and to achieve safety approval in 90 days. This will be an oral vaccine, making it particularly accessible to the general public," he added.
Many in the health industry had not believed that a vaccine could be developed for several months, if not years. In fact, Dr. Anthony Fauci, the director of the U.S. National Institute of Allergy and infectious Diseases claimed on CNN the day before the announcement that a vaccine would take "at least" a year to a year-and-a-half in the best case scenarios.
However, the MIGAL team had a fortunate a stroke of luck after completing effective pre-clinical trials of an Infectious Bronchitis Virus (IBV) vaccine. Researchers noticed that the targeted virus acted incredibly similarly to the Coronavirus, and accordingly adjusted the IBV vaccine to target COVID-19.
Though still in the early stages, scientists are hopeful that the virus swap would open the possibility of "achieving an effective human vaccine in a very short period of time."
Scientists are currently working on reaching the safety standards that would allow them to test the potential vaccine on living organisms.
"We are currently in intensive discussions with potential partners that can help accelerate the in-human trials phase and expedite the completion final product development and regulatory activities," Zigdon claimed.
Following the announcement, the MIGAL team was praised on the "exciting breakthrough" by Ofir Akunis, Israel's Minister of Science and Technology.
Over the past week, the coronavirus has continued its rapid spread from its origin nation of China to many other countries throughout the world. Over 83,000 people have been infected with the disease, and there have been than 2,800 deaths attributed to the virus.
With such a reach, a vaccine could save thousands of people, if not millions. As previously covered by The Inquisitr, the worst case scenario of the virus could reportedly claim as many as 150 million lives due to an "overloaded" medical system, according to a statistician. Fortunately, most estimates are much less pessimistic about the scale of the disease, and numbers of reported cases in the U.S. remain in the double-digits.