Israeli Researchers Announce Breakthrough in Coronavirus Treatment

A Magen David Adom worker wears protective clothing as a preventive measure against the coronavirus, outside the special emergency call center in Kiryat Ono, on Thursday. (Flash90)

A group of researchers in northern Israel said Thursday they had achieved a “scientific breakthrough” in treating coronavirus. At a press conference, researchers of the Migal Galilee Research Institute said that the breakthrough had come while they were doing research on coronavirus in birds. A treatment had been discovered which cured the birds infected with coronavirus, and clinical trials at Israel’s Volcani Agricultural Research Institute had confirmed the treatment’s viability.

The basic coronavirus in birds is very similar in patterns of infection and effect of the virus in humans, and the genetic structure of the virus in both humans and birds is very similar, the researchers said. As a result, the treatment developed for birds could be applicable to humans – and they believed that an effective treatment could be developed for humans within three months, they said.

David Zigdon, Chief Operating Officer of the Institute, said that “there is a great need for an immediate solution to human infection of coronavirus, and we have been working to do that nonstop. The solution we are developing against COVID-19 virus has proven effective, and we believe a version for human treatment can be ready within eight to 10 weeks. That would be followed by a 90-day test period to ensure safety. The treatment we developed for birds is given orally, and the treatment we are developing for humans will also be given orally.”

Director of the Institute Professor Dan Levanon said the speed with which the treatment could be used would depend on regulatory approval. “Under the current conditions in which the disease is causing terrible losses, I believe that state regulators would be very lenient in the various stages that the treatment must pass before it is approved, of course ensuring that it will do no harm via side effects and the like. Under normal conditions, approval of a treatment like this would likely take several years,” he said.

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