Israeli researchers have successfully completed the development phase of a Covid-19 antibody, in a significant step towards developing a viable vaccine for the virus.
The findings at the Israeli Institute for Biological Research (IIBR) were announced in a statement by the Israeli Defence Ministry on Monday.
Israeli Defence Minister Naftali Bennett, who visited IIBR on Monday, said in statement that the step was a “significant breakthrough in finding an antidote for the coronavirus”.
He was briefed that the antibody attacks the virus and neutralises it in the body.
“I am proud of the Biological Institute staff, who have made a major breakthrough,” Mr Bennett said. “Jewish creativity and ingenuity brought about this amazing development.”
Mr Bennett’s statement noted that IIBR was patenting the antibody formula and that an international manufacturer to mass-produce the antibody would be sought.
IIBR reported that the antibody is monoclonal, or derived from a single cell recovered from the blood of a patient who has recovered from Covid-19. These sources are seen as particularly promising in vaccine development.
In April, IIBR reported that they had started testing the antibody-based vaccine prototype on rodents.
IIBR, which is based at Ness Ziona in central Israel, has been among the laboratories leading Israel’s fight against coronavirus.
A second Israeli research team at MigVax, an affiliate of MIGAL Galilee Research Institute, is also reportedly close to completing the first phase of development on a vaccine and recently received an injection of $12 million to accelerate research.
Israel’s coronavirus picture had been gradually improving over the past few days.
On Monday, the Israeli Health Ministry reported just 23 new cases of the virus over the previous 24 hours – the lowest daily rise in six weeks, while the number of patients on ventilators has also dropped to 76.
Israel’s death toll from the virus stands at 235.