JERUSALEM:In a significant breakthrough, Israel’s Defence Minister Naftali Bennett announced in an official statement on Monday that the nation’s defence biological research institute has achieved success in the development of an antibody that neutralises the Coronavirus.
Israel Institute of Biological research (IIBR) is a secretive unit that works directly under the office of Israel’s Prime Minister. The vaccine develops antibodies that attack the Coronavirus in a monoclonal way and neutralize it within the bodies of those ill.
The “monoclonal neutralising antibody” developed at the Israel Institute for Biological Research (IIBR) “can neutralise it (the disease-causing coronavirus) inside carriers’ bodies,” Defence Minister Naftali Bennett said in a statement.
The antibody reported as having been isolated at the IIBR is monoclonal, meaning it was derived from a single recovered cell and is thus potentially of more potent value in yielding a treatment.
The IIBR is now engaged in the process of patenting the find, following which in the next stage, its researchers will begin approaching international companies to produce the antibody on a commercial scale.
Lauding the researchers for the achievement, Bennett said, “I am proud of the institute staff for this terrific breakthrough. Their creativity and the Jewish mind brought about this amazing achievement.”
Bennett visited the labs of the Israel Institute for Biological Research (IIBR), a secretive unit that works under the Prime Minister’s Office, in Ness Ziona and was shown the “antibody that attacks the virus in a monoclonal way and can neutralize it within the bodies of those ill,” according to a statement from his office.
It was not immediately clear if the breakthrough presented to Bennett was in addition to progress that was reported in late March, and no further details were provided. The statement also did not specify whether human trials were conducted.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu earlier on Monday pledged $60 million (about NIS 210 million) at an international donors conference raising funds for the joint fight against the coronavirus pandemic.
About 100 research groups around the world are pursuing vaccines, with nearly a dozen in early stages of human trials or poised to start. But so far there’s no way to predict which — if any — vaccine will work safely, or even to name a front-runner.
In early February, before the virus reached Israel, Netanyahu instructed the IIBR and the Health Ministry to work to create a vaccine against the virus and to establish a vaccine factory.
According to foreign media reports, the IIBR is involved in developing chemical and biological weapons and antidotes and defenses against them.