Has Israel just found the cure for Covid?
Experimental Covid drug cures 30 out of 30 moderate to severe cases in Phase I clinical trial at Israeli hospital. Second new drug also shows promise.
By Abigail Klein Leichman FEBRUARY 7, 2021, 2:10 PM
Even with Israel’s world-leading rollout of Covid-19 vaccinations, drugs to treat Covid patients are in desperate need across the world.
Two such drugs developed in Israel show great promise in clinical trials: EXO-CD24 and Allocetra.
EXO-CD24, an experimental inhaled medication developed at Tel Aviv Sourasky Medical Center, cured all 30 moderate-to-severe cases in a Phase I clinical trial.
Developed over the past six months at the hospital, EXOCD24 stops the “cytokine storm” – where the immune system goes out of control and starts attacking healthy cells – that occurs in the lungs of 5-7% of Covid-19 patients.
“To date, the preparation has been tried with great success on 30 severe patients, in 29 of whom the medical condition improved within two to three days and most of them were discharged home within three to five days. The 30th patient also recovered but after a longer time,” the hospital reports.
“The drug is based on exosomes, [vesicles] that are released from the cell membrane and used for intercellular communication. We enrich the exosomes with 24CD protein. This protein is expressed on the surface of the cell and has a known and important role in regulating the immune system,” explained Dr. Shiran Shapira, director of the laboratory of Prof. Nadir Arber, who has been researching the CD24 protein for over two decades.
“The preparation is given by inhalation, once a day, for only a few minutes, for five days,” Shapira said.
She said the experimental treatment has two unique characteristics. The first is that it inhibits the over-secretion of cytokines. The second is that it is delivered directly to the lungs and therefore has no systemic side effects that injected or oral drugs can cause.
“Even if the vaccines perform their function, and even if no new mutations are produced then still in one way or another the corona will remain with us,” said Arber, director of the medical center’s Integrated Cancer Prevention Center. “To this end, we have developed a unique drug, EXO-CD24.”
Arber added that this advanced preparation “can be produced quickly and efficiently and at a very low cost in every pharmaceutical facility in the country, and in a short time globally.”
Prof. Ronni Gamzu, CEO of the medical center, said, “Prof. Arber’s results for first-phase research were excellent and gave us all confidence in the method he has been researching [here] for many years. I personally assisted him in further obtaining the approvals from the Ministry of Health for further research.”