CORONAVIRUS

Technicians carry out a diagnostic test for coronavirus in a lab at the Rambam Hospital in Haifa, on March 30, 2020. 

Researchers at the Israel Institute for Biological Research have successfully isolated a key coronavirus antibody, which is a significant step towards developing a vaccine for the virus, Israeli Defense Minister Naftali Bennett announced on Monday.

Bennett visited the institute on Monday, where he was briefed on “a significant breakthrough in finding an antidote for the coronavirus.”

The antibody “monoclonal,” which means it is derived from a single cell taken from the blood of a patient who recovered from COVID-19, can neutralize the disease-causing coronavirus inside carriers’ bodies, explained Bennett.

Antibodies from those who have successfully overcome the coronavirus are widely considered key to developing a possible cure for the virus.

Bennett said he was proud of the institute staff, and that “Jewish creativity and ingenuity brought about this amazing development.”

Institute director Shmuel Shapira said the antibody formula was being patented; afterwards, an international manufacturer will be sought to mass produce it.

Another Israeli research team at MigVax, an affiliate of MIGAL Galilee Research Institute, is reportedly close to completing its first phase of developing a COVID-19 vaccine and recently received an injection of $12 million to accelerate research. JN

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