Olivier Fitoussi/Flash90

The mandate is to be lifted on April 23.

By United with Israel and JNS.org

Israel’s indoor mask mandate is to be lifted on April 23 at 8 p.m., pending approval by the Knesset Health Committee, Israel’s prime minister and health minister announced in a joint statement on Wednesday.

The decision was made by Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett and Health Minister Nitzan Horowitz in light of the recent decline in COVID-19 cases, the statement said.

However, the mask mandate will remain in force for locations with high potential for infection (hospitals, Magen Avot institutions for the elderly, airline flights and people on their way to quarantine).

Israel has remained on the cutting edge of the fight against corona, launching the world’s first clinical trials of a Covid vaccine that can be taken orally in 2021.

Oravax is the oral version of a vaccine now being developed by Premas Biotech, which is based in India.

Nadav Kidron, CEO of the Jerusalem-based Oramed Pharmaceuticals, hopes his vaccine, Oravax, will be a “game changer.”

Because the vaccine does not need to be stored at low temperatures or be administered by medical professionals, Oravax could be rapidly distributed to countries that have not yet launched immunization campaigns.

Kidron said that pills could be especially useful for people needing a booster, and believes Oravax will provide potent protection against new Covid variants.

In March 2021, Israeli researchers in Rehovot tested Oravax on pigs. The pigs produced the expected antibodies, paving the way for clinical trials on people.

In an interview with the Times of Israel, Kidron explained that Oravax targets three SARS CoV-2 virus surface proteins, unlike other vaccines that only target one. He also said that the proteins which Oravax hones in on are not susceptible to mutation, which will make the vaccine effective even against new variants.

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