The CEO of MIGAL Galilee Research Institute announced that a new vaccine against a coronavirus, which infects chickens, has brought the MIGAL’s scientists a step closer to developing a preparation to protect against COVID-19. A multi-disciplinary team created an Infectious Bronchitis Virus (IBV) vaccine, which has been shown to be effective in pre-clinical trials. The scientists found the bird virus has a similar genetic code too, and infects individuals in the same way, as the deadly new coronavirus in humans. This “increases the likelihood of achieving an effective human vaccine in a very short period of time”. The scientists adjusted the IBV vaccine to the virus which causes COVID-19, and are working on meeting safety standards which will enable them to test it “in-vivo,” or in living organisms. They hope these steps will “enable the initiation of production of a vaccine to counter the coronavirus epidemic currently spreading throughout the world”.

Commenting on the news, David Zigdon, CEO of MIGAL said: “Given the urgent global need for a human coronavirus vaccine, we are doing everything we can to accelerate development. 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.”

Mr. Ofir Akunis, Israel’s Minister of Science and Technology, congratulated the team on this exciting breakthrough. “I am confident that there will be further rapid progress, enabling us to provide a needed response to the grave global COVID-19 threat,” he said.

Many media reporters around the world came to the MIGAL Institute in Kiryat Shmona to review the scientific activity at the institute for the development of the coronavirus vaccine. After the broadcast networks in the country extensively covered what was defined as a scientific breakthrough in developing a vaccine for the coronavirus, a foreign correspondent also came. Hundreds of foreign reporters visited MIGAL’s research labs at the Tel Hai industrial park to hear about the important discovery that could lead to the creation of a corona virus vaccine.

As widely published, researchers at the Institute have been developing a vaccine against the corona for poultry. However, when the corona epidemic broke out, the Institute began to make the vaccine adjustments so that it could accommodate humans as well.

Journalists from around the world from the US, Germany, China, Russia, France, Australia, Canada, and even an Iranian TV channel based in London interviewed David Zigdon, CEO of the MIGAL – Galilee Research Institute and researchers.

The main idea is to develop industries, based on the research outputs from MIGAL and other institutes in the Galilee, which will remain in the region and develop the conditions for high-level jobs and regional economic development. Rural policy has had to evolve beyond the traditional, sector-based model, with its almost exclusive focus on agriculture. Today rural development policies are embracing more strategies that have a spatial context, that give priority to investments over subsidies, and that encourage a partnership-based, multi-stakeholder policy design and implementation framework.

At its core, the MIGAL’s approach to rural development represents a rural policy that is grounded in current rural conditions and opportunities in rural areas. MIGAL is located the most peripheral region of Israel, not far from the Lebanese border. MIGAL reinforce the trend to increase multi-sectoral, place-based strategies that identify and better exploit the development potential of rural areas in diverse directions. It is widely believed at the Galilee region that the future prosperity of rural regions will be driven by enterprise, innovation, and new technologies, tailored to markets and applied to new and old industries. The economic crisis that erupted with the corona virus epidemic presented a moment to reflect on this, specifically to widespread these approaches with the best potential to enhance future rural development.

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