Hadassah Hospital First in World to Test Passive Coronavirus Vaccine

Firefighters wearing protective clothes disinfect the entrance of the emergency room of Hadassah Ein Kerem Hospital in Yerushalayim, on March 22.
(Olivier Fitoussi/Flash90)

Hadassah Medical Center in Yerushalayim on Tuesday became the first hospital in the world to test a passive vaccine treatment for coronavirus by administering immunoglobulin G (IgG).

Two months ago, Hadassah Medical Center started collecting plasma rich with antibodies from coronavirus patients who had recovered, with the aim of producing a treatment for severely ill patients. Hadassah’s call was answered in large part by members of the chareidi community, who arrived en masse to donate plasma, with the encouragement of Rabbanim.

The plasmas collected from the recoverees were processed by the Kamada company at Kibbutz Beit Kama in the Negev for an IgG-based antibody treatment for coronavirus patients in severe conditions.

No other hospital has attempted to provide passive vaccines for coronavirus patients.

On Tuesday evening, the first dose of the passive vaccine was provided to a young woman with a pre-existing medical condition, whose CT scan showed completely white lungs – a sign that she was critically ill. All of the known treatments for coronavirus, including the use of an ECMO machine, did not improve her condition.

Several hours after she received the immunoglobulins, the patient’s condition stabilized, leading doctors to become cautiously optimistic. She is still hospitalized in Hadassah’s ICU for coronavirus patients.

Hadassah noted that the project is being done with Health Ministry approval and in cooperation with Magen David Adom. The hospital emphasized that it had waited for an extended period of time to receive the approval, while at the same time gathering samples and preparing the serum, in the hopes that it would be put to use.

“We [hope] that the treatment received by the seriously ill patient will succeed,” Hadassah Director Ze’ev Rothstein said, and thanked all hospital staff who put in much effort to allow this project to succeed.