A pharmaceutical company in Israel told The Jerusalem Post on March 17 that it’s working on a treatment for coronavirus.
Kamada CEO Amir London told the Post that the company is working on what’s known as a “passive vaccine” to provide antibodies for coronavirus patients whose conditions are worsening. They are collecting plasma samples from patients who have recovered from the illness because those patients have developed viral antibodies in response to the disease.
“If patients who have recovered from the disease and are in convalescence donate plasma, there is a very good likelihood that in that plasma there are going to be antibodies,” London said. He cautioned that researchers don’t know if the treatment will be guaranteed to work because “we don’t know yet what is going to be the level of antibodies in the plasma of people who recovered from COVID-19. But based on our experience, as well as on the experience of other companies in the field, we believe there is going to be a sufficient quantity of them.”
There have been other Israeli efforts to develop vaccines. Haaretz reported on March 18 that the Institute for Biological Research discovered a “significant breakthrough” in how the virus operates and will thus lead to “better diagnostic capability, production of antibodies for those who already have the virus and development of a vaccine.”
However, the Israeli Defense Ministry denied that there was a breakthrough. “If and when there will be something to report, it will be done in an orderly fashion,” it said in a statement.
In the United States, President Donald Trump announced on March 19 that the drugs chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine, which are typically used to treat malaria and arthritis, could be effective in treating coronavirus and that the Food and Drug Administration is working on fast-tracking approval so the drugs can be available “almost immediately.”