Israel has developed a key coronavirus antibody at its primary biological research centre, Defence Minister Naftali Bennett said Monday. He called it a “significant breakthrough” towards a possible treatment for Covid-19. In an official statement, Bennet claimed that the “monoclonal neutralising antibody” developed by the Israel Institute for Biological Research (IIBR) “attacks the virus and neutralises it” inside the virus carrier’s body. Bennett visited the labs of the IIBR, a unit that works under the Prime Minister’s Office, in Ness Ziona and was briefed by the research team. IIBR is now working to patent its antibody and secure a contract for its commercial development. All legal procedures will be coordinated with the Defence Ministry. “I am proud of the Biological Institute staff, who have made a major breakthrough,” Bennett was quoted as saying.
“The Jewish creativity and ingenuity brought about this amazing achievement,” he added. Last month, IIBR announced that it had begun testing its antibody-based vaccine prototype on rodents. IIBR is also involved in plasma collection from people who have recovered from infection with the new coronavirus, in the hope that this might help research, the Jerusalem Post reported further. A second Israeli research team, MigVax, has also reported that it is close to completing the first phase of development of a coronavirus vaccine. Last week, it secured a $12 million investment from OurCrowd to accelerate the path to clinical trials. Israel was one of the first countries to close its borders and impose stringent restrictions on the movement of people to contain the spread of Covid-19. The Jewish state has so far reported 16,246 cases and 235 deaths due to the pandemic.