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Israel Bio-Research Institute That Invented Anthrax Vaccine Gets New Top Doc

A former consultant to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is set to become the next head of the Israeli Institute of Biological Research (IIBR). Dr. Shmuel Shapira is expected to replace Dr. Avigdor Sheferman, who is retiring after running the institute for 18 years.

The Institute’s researchers developed the groundbreaking vaccine against anthrax a decade ago. It is one of the world’s leaders in general Research & Development of medications to prevent diseases and epidemics, and undertakes sensitive research in the chemical and biological fields.

The Pentagon and US Army and Navy have provided grants and funding to the Institute for projects that help protect American soldiers.  Among the inventions to result from the U.S.-Israel partnership is a safe and effective topical skin protection against chemical warfare agents such as sulfur, mustard and VX.  Given current threats posed by chemical weapons stockpiles in Syria, such medical breakthroughs are subject to renewed appreciation in military and political circles.

Overseen by Israel’s Ministry of Defense, IIBR is the Israeli counterpart of  US Army Medical Research and Material Command at Fort Detrick, Maryland, and is considered one of Israel’s most secretive scientific institutes.

Dr Shapira is an anesthesiologist from the Hadassa hospital in Jerusalem and a former Lt.Colonel in the Israeli Navy.  In addition to his work with the Atlanta-based CDC, Shapira also served as a consultant to the Rand Corporation.


Photo: courtesy of Centers for Disease Control and Prevention