Start-up Nation develops “breakthrough” cure for serious COVID cases

An Israeli team of doctors and scientists has developed a new, “breakthrough” treatment for coronavirus that has already helped dozens of patients in serious condition recover in three to five days, according to the hospital’s data. 

The treatment, which is inhaled, was developed and tested at Tel Aviv’s Ichilov Medical Center and has successfully completed phase 1 trials, the hospital said Friday.

“To date, the preparation has been tried with great success on 30 severe patients, in 29 of whom the medical condition improved within two to three days and most of them were discharged home within three to five days. The 30th patient also recovered but after a longer time,” the hospital said.

Prof. Nadir Arber heads the lab that developed the substance called EXO-CD24. “Exosomes” is something Arber has been researching for years.

“The preparation is inhaled once a day for a few minutes, for five days,” Arber said. “The preparation is directed straight to the heart of the storm — the lungs — so unlike other formulas… which selectively restrain a certain cytokine, or operate widely but cause many serious side effects, EXO-CD24 is administered locally, works broadly and without side effects.”

The research “is advanced and sophisticated and may save coronavirus patients. The results of the phase 1 trial are excellent and give us all confidence in the method [Arber] has been researching in his lab for many years,” said Ichilov director Roni Gamzu, who was the previous coronavirus czar.

“This protein is located on the surface of cells and has a well known and important role in regulating the immune system,” researcher Shiran Shapira at Arber’s lab explained.

The protein helps calm down the immune system and curb the storm.

The treatment must undergo further testing, but if it can get emergency use as the vaccine did, hopefully it can start saving lives faster.