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Israeli bio researchers on cusp of corona vaccine as cases top 5,500

A source familiar with IIBR (Israel Institute for Biological Research) activities told Reuters that trials were already underway on rodents. The source declined to identify the kind of rodent.

In rare public comments, IIBR Chief Innovation Officer Eran Zahavy said last week that the institute had shifted its entire focus to the new coronavirus, with three groups trying to develop a vaccine against the COVID-19 disease it causes, and others researching potential treatments.

As of Wednesday, the number of confirmed corona cases in Israel stood at 5,591, with 21 deaths. A total of 94 patients are hospitalized in serious condition, with 76 of the serious patients in medically induced comas and on ventilators. 105 patients were listed in moderate condition. The number of corona survivors continues to rise, with 224 Israelis pronounced to have made a full recovery from the virus.

However, increasingly younger patients are now included in Israel’s corona death toll. Two women under 60 died of the virus on Tuesday. Both suffered from pre-existing medical conditions. The youngest person to die in Israel from coronavirus was a 49-year-old mother.

Meanwhile, IDF Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Aviv Kochavi entered self-quarantine Tuesday, after coming into contact with an IDF commander who tested positive for COVID-19 coronavirus.

According to an IDF statement, on March 22 Kochavi attended a meeting with a Home Front commander, and one of the other military attendees was diagnosed with the coronavirus Tuesday.

Kochavi is not thought to be infected with the virus and will follow the Health Ministry’s instructions to self-isolate until the end of the week.

“At this time, the Chief of the General Staff is not suffering any symptoms, is feeling well, and will be tested in the next few minutes,” the statement said.

The IDF also reported that two other generals would also be entering self-quarantine.

“The Commanding Officer of the Home Front Command and the Head of the Operations Directorate also attended the same meeting and will enter quarantine until the end of the week.”