Israeli drug that substantially alleviates serious Covid symptoms completes second phase trials

James Rothwell
·2 min read
Israeli medical team of Sheba Medical Center at Tel HaShomer wave national flags as the Israeli Air Force - JACK GUEZ/AFP
Israeli medical team of Sheba Medical Center at Tel HaShomer wave national flags as the Israeli Air Force - JACK GUEZ/AFP

A new Israeli drug that can substantially alleviate serious Covid symptoms in as little as two hours has successfully completed its second phase of trials.

The drug, Allocetra, treats the extreme overreaction of the body's immune system seen in some severe coronavirus patients, which can sometimes lead to organ failure and death. The phenomenon is known as a "cytokine" storm.

According to Israel's Channel 13, 90 per cent of a sample of 20 patients who were seriously ill recovered after they were treated with the drug during the trials. The drug is now commencing its third trial phase.

Yair Tayeb, one of the recovered patients, told the Times of Israel that he felt much better only two hours after receiving the drug.

“I couldn’t breathe, I could barely speak. [I was in] very, very serious condition,” he said. “I went through an experience you can’t put into words.”

“They gave me the drug. Suddenly after two hours I started feeling something strange in my body. I stopped coughing, my breathing started to come back, I was feeling better. I stopped sweating. I couldn’t believe it. I was afraid to tell people I was okay, I was so excited.”

He added: "Two days ago I couldn’t stand on my legs… look at me now, going home.”

It is one of two drugs being developed in Israel which scientists hope will be a game changer in tackling serious Covid cases.

The other drug, EXO-CD24, was tested on 30 patients with moderate to severe Covid symptoms who all recovered, with 29 of them feeling better within five days.

It was developed at the Ichilov Medical Centre in Tel Aviv and was initially designed to treat ovarian cancer.

"Even if the vaccines do their job, and even if there aren't any new mutations, one way or another, the coronavirus will be staying with us," said Professor Nadir Arber, who designed the drug.