Friday, September 24th | 18 Tishri 5782

May 5, 2020 12:08 pm

Israeli Researchers Throw Cold Water on Defense Minister’s Claim of ‘Breakthrough’ Coronavirus Treatment

avatar by Benjamin Kerstein

Scientists at work in laboratory. Photo: Public domain via Wikimedia Commons.

Israeli experts on Tuesday urged caution a day after Defense Minister Naftali Bennett hailed Israeli scientists for making a “breakthrough” in treating the coronavirus.

On Monday, Bennett visited the Israel Institute for Biological Research (IIBR) and said he had been shown “a significant breakthrough in finding an antidote to the coronavirus.”

The “breakthrough” was the discovery of a “monoclonal antibody,” which a researcher from the Institute told Israeli news site N12 was significant because “all the antibodies in it are the same because they are made from a single cell of the immune system, and not from a number of cells.”

The researcher said that the antibody had been shown to delay the development of the coronavirus in laboratory experiments.

Contrary to Bennett’s statement, however, major questions remained as to the efficacy of the treatment, the researcher noted.

“How effective and significant was this delay?” he said. “Who said it was safe to use on humans? There are many other steps that could prove the experiment a failure.”

Another unnamed researcher echoed this statement, saying to N12, “What the Institute developed is not significant or greater than what is currently being done at major pharmaceutical companies and universities around the world.”

“Everyone is working on similar and even more significant things, so this celebration is simply a joke,” he said.

The Institute, however, defended its research, saying it is “the first in the world that achieved this breakthrough in three combined parameters.”

These parameters, said the Institute, were the fact that the antibody was new and refined, with a low proportion of other proteins that could endanger the patient; that the antibody had been shown to neutralize the coronavirus; and that the antibody was specifically tested against the coronavirus.

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