In what he described as “a significant breakthrough”, Israeli Defense Minister Naftali Bennett announced last week that the Israel Institute for Biological Research succeeded in isolating a key antibody that successfully neutralized aggressive coronavirus in lab tests. The antibody may be the basis of successful treatment or vaccine.

The IIBR focused its research on blood plasma collected by the Magen David Adom from patients who recently recovered from the disease. 

IIBR Director Shmuel Shapira told Bennett that the antibody they isolated is monoclonal, which means it comes from a single cell and is potentially more effective at neutralizing the virus than are polyclonal antibodies derived from two or more cells.

After the monoclonal antibody is patented, an international manufacturer will be sought for mass production, according to Bennett’s statement. To begin the regulatory approval process, the IIBR antibody will undergo several months of additional testing.

The new antibody discovery will shorten the time until a cure or vaccine is developed and should even be relevant if the virus mutates. The institution will file for a patent for the antibodies publish their work in a scientific journal for peer-based review. 

President Reuven Rivlin visited the laboratory and discussed the possibility of building a vaccine production plant in Yeroham in southern Israel.

The Israel Institute for Biological Research is a government research facility that has shifted its focus from defense projects to exclusively working on finding cures and treatments for the pandemic. They recently released a study indicating that that hotter temperatures will neutralize any virus particles on plastic and metal surfaces within hours. This gives hope that summer weather will mitigate the epidemic.


Source: Israel in the News