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A drug developed in Israel to cure COVID-19 was tested in a clinical trial on 30 patients suffering from the disease and reportedly cured 29 of the 30 people.
The trial, conducted at Tel Aviv Sourasky Medical Center, tested an experimental inhaled medication called EXO-CD24. The drug, developed by Ichilov, reportedly stops the “cytokine storm,” the body’s reaction to COVID-19 in which the immune system reacts by savaging healthy cells.
“Cytokine storm and cytokine release syndrome are life-threatening systemic inflammatory syndromes involving elevated levels of circulating cytokines and immune-cell hyperactivation that can be triggered by various therapies, pathogens, cancers, autoimmune conditions, and monogenic disorders. From a historical perspective, cytokine storm was previously referred to as an influenza-like syndrome that occurred after systemic infections such as sepsis and after immunotherapies such as Coley’s toxins,” The New England Journal of Medicine has explained.
“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,” Tel Aviv Sourasky Medical Center stated, according to Israel 21.
According to Ichilov director and Israel’s former coronavirus czar Roni Gamzu, the research “is advanced and sophisticated and may save coronavirus patients. The results of the phase 1 trial are excellent and give us all confidence in the method [Arber] has been researching in his lab for many years,” The Times of Israel reported.
“The preparation is given by inhalation, once a day, for only a few minutes, for five days. 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,” Dr. Shiran Shapira asserted.
Shapira serves as director of the laboratory of Prof. Nadir Arber; Arber has been researching the CD24 protein for more than twenty years.
Shapira said ingestion of the drug caused no systemic side effects that injected or oral drugs might precipitate. Arber stated that the drug “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.”
Another new drug, Allocetra, was tested in a Phase II clinical trial; of 16 Covid patients, fourteen recovered and left the hospital after an average of 5.3 days.
Prof. Vernon van Heerden, the lead investigator of the clinical trials, said, “The Phase II patients who have been discharged from the hospital are currently healthy. We believe that these compelling results have demonstrated the safety and efficacy of Allocetra in these complicated patients, highlighting the potential of Enlivex’s product candidate to benefit severe and critical Covid-19 patients as well as others suffering from cytokine storms and organ dysfunctions across various clinical indications.”