Israeli Coronavirus Vaccine ‘On Track’ as WHO Declares Pandemic

This scanning electron microscope image shows SARS-CoV-2 (orange)—also known as 2019-nCoV, the virus that causes COVID-19—isolated from a patient in the U.S., emerging from the surface of cells (gray) cultured in the lab.

By Al Perrotta Published on March 11, 2020

“… and by your offspring shall all the nations of the earth gain blessing for themselves, because you have obeyed my voice.” (Genesis 22:18)

Even as the World Health Organization declares the coronavirus a pandemic, there is much reason for hope. A vaccine may soon be at hand, thanks to Israeli scientists.  

But first, the latest:

WHO Declares COVID-19 a Pandemic

Today, the World Health Organization declared the COVID-19 outbreak a global pandemic. This is the first pandemic declaration since the H1N1 virus in 2009. 

“We’re deeply concerned both by the alarming levels of spread and severity, and by the alarming levels of inaction,” said WHO Director-General Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus at a press conference Wednesday. “We have rung the alarm bell loud and clear.”

“In the past two weeks the number of cases outside China has increased thirteenfold and the number of affected countries has tripled,” Adhanom Ghebreyesus said. “In the days and weeks ahead, we expect to see the number of cases, the number of deaths and the number of affected countries to climb even higher.”

As of 9:30 this morning eastern, there were 121,564 confirmed cases of coronavirus around the world, with 4,373 deaths. The US has seen 1,050 cases, with 31 deaths thus far. 

To see the latest stats on the spread of the virus, check this link from Johns Hopkins.

But we’re not helpless in the fight, as the WHO director-general noted. “We cannot say this loudly enough or clearly enough or often enough: All countries can still change the course of this pandemic.”

“Several countries have demonstrated that this virus can be suppressed and controlled,” he added, “Even those countries with community transmission or large clusters can turn the tide.”

The U.S.: “It Will Get Worse”

Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, cautioned Wednesday things will get worse in the United States before they get better. He says any time there is an outbreak with enough cases of “community spread” — in other words, the source of the infection is unknown — “you’re not going to be able to effectively and efficiently contain it.” 

One problem is “We keep getting people coming in from the country that are travel-related. We’ve seen that in many states that are now involved.”

We will see more cases and things will continue to worsen, unless the government can do two things:

  1. Control the number of people who are infected coming into the US.
  2. “mitigate without our own country.”

Local governments are attempting to mitigate the spread. San Francisco is banning gatherings of more than 1,000. Washington State is banning gatherings larger than 250 in several counties. Also, New York has established a “containment area” around the hard hit town of New Rochelle. 

“Bottom Line,” says Dr. Fauci, “It’s going to get worse.” 

But there is hope.

But There is Hope! Israel on the Brink of an Oral Vaccine

Israeli scientists are confident they have developed an effective vaccine for COVID-19. The state-funded Migal Galilee Research Institute’s oral vaccine will be ready for testing within “a few weeks,” the Times of Israel reports

A member of the development team says their vaccine could “turn this disease into a very mild cold.” That’s nothing to sneeze at. In fact, says Chen Katz, many who are inoculated and then infected by COVID-19 “potentially it will not affect them at all.” 

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According to the Times of Israel, the Migal Institute is ahead of the game on a coronavirus vaccine because they’ve been “working for four years toward a vaccine that could be customized for various viruses and has now adapted that work to focus on the coronavirus.” 

Unfortunately, as Katz told the Times of Israel, the oral vaccine likely won’t be available to the public for months because of the lengthy and sometimes bureaucratic testing and approval process.

Says Katz, “The clinical testing experiments themselves are not so long, and we can complete them in 30 days, plus another 30 days for human trials. Most of the time is bureaucracy — regulation and paperwork.”

Let us pray any red tape will be parted like the Red Sea. 

Fighting on the Spiritual Front

Interestingly, the scientist Katz was interviewed by the Times of Israel while celebrating Purim. This is the holiday commemorating the rescue of God’s people from death through the obedience of one woman, Esther. Katz marveled at the timing of his team’s work to be in a position to hopefully save the lives of so many. 

As recorded in the Book of Esther, “Who knows whether you have come to the kingdom for such a time as this?” 

What a reminder that the pandemic fight is both in the natural and the spiritual. Rev. James Robison, Stream publisher and member of the White House Faith Initiative, insists fighting coronavirus will take the wisdom of God and people and governments working together. People prepared for a time such as this. He echoes pastor and author Jentezen Franklin’s call for the Body of Christ to unify in a prayer movement against the virus. 

Said Robison, “There is no limit to human potential when we are submitted to the wisdom of God’s Spirit and connected to one another.” 

He’s also recorded a brief and hopeful message, urging believers to “stay away from panic.”


Al Perrotta is the Managing Editor of The Stream and co-author, with @JZmirak, of The Politically Incorrect Guide to Immigration. You can follow him at @StreamingAl. And if you aren’t already, please follow The Stream at @Streamdotorg

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