Israeli Defence Minister Naftali Bennett has said that scientists at the country's main biological research institute have made a “significant breakthrough” in developing an antibody to the novel coronavirus, as the researchers wrapped up the development phase and moved to patent and mass produce the potential treatment.
Bennett visited the labs of the Israel’s Institute for Biological Research (IIBR), supervised by the Prime Minister’s Office and mandated to develop a vaccine for coronavirus, in Ness Ziona on Monday and was shown the “antibody that attacks the virus in a monoclonal way and can neutralise it within the bodies of those ill”, a statement from his office said.
The statement said the antibody’s development had been completed and that the institute was in the process of patenting the find “and in the next stage, researchers will approach international companies to produce the antibody on a commercial scale”.
“I am proud of the institute staff for this terrific breakthrough,” Bennett said, adding that “their creativity and the Jewish mind brought about this amazing achievement”.
In March, Israeli daily Ha'aretz, quoting medical sources, had reported that scientists at the institute had made a significant breakthrough in understanding the biological mechanism and qualities of the virus, including better diagnostic capability, production of antibodies for those who already have the virus and development of a vaccine.
It was not immediately clear if the breakthrough presented to Bennett was in addition to progress that was reported in late March, and no further details were provided.
The statement also did not specify whether human trials were conducted. Apparently, the IIBR conducted some clinical trials, PTI has learnt.