Israel isolates coronavirus antibody in 'significant breakthrough'

Israel isolates coronavirus antibody in 'significant breakthrough'

Israel has isolated a key coronavirus antibody at its main biological research laboratory, Israeli defence minister Naftali Bennett said, calling the step a “significant breakthrough” toward a possible treatment for the COVID-19 pandemic.

The "monoclonal neutralising antibody" developed at the Israel Institute for Biological Research (IIBR) "can neutralise it (the disease-causing coronavirus) inside carriers’ bodies," the Defence Minister said.

The statement added that Bennett visited the IIBR on Monday where he was briefed “on a significant breakthrough in finding an antidote for the coronavirus”.

It quoted IIBR Director Shmuel Shapira as saying that the antibody formula was being patented, after which an international manufacturer would be sought to mass-produce it, Reuters reported.

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, the respiratory disease caused by the virus.

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.

The antibody reported as having been isolated at the IIBR is monoclonal, meaning it was derived from a single recovered cell and is thus potentially of more potent value in yielding a treatment.

Israel has reported 16,246 cases and 235 deaths from the illness.

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