Three Israelis Treated With Passive COVID-19 Vaccine Fully Recover

YERUSHALAYIM -
Magen David Adom workers wearing protective clothing, as a preventive measure against the coronavirus seen after evacuating a man with suspicion of coronavirus at Hadassah Ein Karem hospital in Yerushalayim, on March 26. (Olivier Fitoussi/Flash90)

Three coronavirus patients treated at Hadassah Hospital in Yerushalayim with an experimental passive vaccine treatment by administering Immunoglobulin G (IgG) have fully recovered, giving hope for other patients, the hospital said Thursday.

The three were treated as part of a clinical study, jointly conducted by Hadassah Hospital and the public biomedical company Kamada.

“For three months, despite the initial opposition of the former director general of the Health Ministry, Hadassah has been collecting plasma donations from coronavirus patients,” Hadassah head Prof. Ze’ev Rotstein said, with the aim of producing a treatment for severely ill patients.

Specifically, the plasma was collected with the help of the chareidi chessed organization Yad Avraham and the chareidi community, Hadassah hospital noted. Patients who tested negative for the coronavirus twice and showed high levels of antibodies in their blood were asked to donate plasma.

Those who develop any virus, including the coronavirus, develop special antivirus proteins or antibodies in their plasma, which can help sick patients cope with the disease.

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 patients in severe condition, patients who suffer from pneumonia due to the virus.

Kamada produced what it calls its “anti-SARS-CoV-2 plasma-derived immunoglobulin (IgG) product.”

The first three patients who recovered as part of the clinical study demonstrated a rapid clinical benefit and have been discharged home from the hospital.

Hadassah administered the world’s first passive vaccine to a seriously ill patient, a young woman with underlying illnesses whose CT results showed completely white lungs, and all known treatment methods have not affected her condition.

Several hours after receiving the treatment, the patient’s condition appears to have stabilized, giving room for cautious optimism.

Kamada updated in its reports that the virus neutralization test showed encouraging neutralization activity of the product and that the company plans to further test the antibody product as a potential preventative treatment for COVID-19 on healthy volunteers at risk.

Prof. Rotstein said that the vaccine, which could also be called a medicine, is being targeted toward COVID-19 patients whose situation is worsening and need a booster to fight the disease. However, it may also be used prophylactically in cases where a high-risk patient contracts coronavirus and the hospital wants to stop the disease’s progression.

“It is evident that the Hadassah team is very satisfied with the clinical research,” said Dr. Assa Kessler, a doctor in the hospital’s coronavirus unit. She said the plasma is being distributed to COVID-19 patients who develop pneumonia and “for now, we are very encouraged by the results.”

Rotstein said that these preliminary results should “raise hope in Israel and around the world.”