Covid-19 treatment: Israel’s secret lab isolates coronavirus antibody, minister calls it ‘significant breakthrough’

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MAY 5, 2020

People wear face masks while exercising and kids play around near the shore of the Mediterranean Sea on May 4 as the coronavirus disease restrictions have eased in Ashkelon, Israel. (Reuters Photo)

Israeli Defence Minister Naftali Bennett said on Monday that the country’s scientists have made “significant breakthrough” in developing an antibody to Covid-19 infection.

“I am proud of the Biological Institute staff, who have made a major breakthrough,” Bennett said in a statement widely reported by the Israeli media.

The antibody or passive vaccine attacks the virus and neutralizes it in the body.

“The Jewish creativity and ingenuity brought about this amazing achievement,” he further said in the statement.

Bennett’s statement was released after he visited the labs of the Israel Institute for Biological Research (IIBR), a secretive unit that works under the Prime Minister’s Office. The scientists there told him that the development phase of the vaccine has been complete.

Members of Turkish Cooperation and Coordination Agency (TIKA) and Colombian Army distribute food and other items to families in the rural areas of Ubaque in Colombia on April 27. – Juancho Torres/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

IIBR Director Shmuel Shapira said that the antibody formula was being patented, after which an international manufacturer would be sought to mass-produce it.

The IIBR has been leading Israeli efforts to develop a treatment and vaccine for the coronavirus, including the testing of blood from those who recovered from Covid-19.

Antibodies in such samples – immune-system proteins that are residues of successfully overcoming the coronavirus – are widely seen as a key to developing a possible cure.

A second Israeli research team, MigVax, has also reported that it is close to completing the first phase of development of a coronavirus vaccine. Last week, it secured a US $12 million investment to accelerate the path to clinical trials.

Israel was one of the first countries to close its borders and impose increasingly stringent restrictions on movement to hamper the domestic coronavirus outbreak. It has reported 16,246 cases and 235 deaths from the illness.

Follow the government’s latest guidance on safeguarding yourself during the coronavirus pandemic, including travel advice within and outside the country. The World Health Organization has also busted some myths surrounding coronavirus. The Ministry of Health’s special helpline is available at +91-11-23978046, ncov2019@gmail.com and ncov2019@gov.in.


Courtesy/Source: Hindustan Times

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