Scientists across the globe are working on vaccines to prevent Covid-19 infection. But in the meanwhile, and even after initial vaccines are approved, there is an urgent need for effective treatments for the respiratory disease caused by the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus. Below are 13 potential Israeli treatments using a variety of approaches – such as Ivermectin, placenta-derived cells, peptides, blood plasma of recovered patients, and the cannabis compound CBD.
Israeli hospitals were among the first anywhere to use dexamethasone, a steroid drug, to stop cytokines storms and reduce lung inflammation in severely ill COVID-19 patients. However, steroids can suppress the immune response too strongly. Additionally, an Israeli hospital is among the first to do a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled clinical trial of ivermectin, a drug to treat parasitic infections in people and animals, to see if it can shorten the duration of the disease if given to Covid-19 patients immediately after diagnosis. Israelis are also formulating novel therapeutics of their own.
PLX, an injected regenerative placenta-derived cell therapy, stimulates the immune system’s natural regulatory T cells and M2 macrophages, possibly preventing or reversing a cytokine storm. PLX cells potentially reduce the incidence and/or severity of Covid-19 pneumonia and pneumonitis.
Jerusalem-based Silkim Pharma recently submitted Coronzot, its novel treatment for Covid-19 patients with moderate to severe symptoms, to the FDA’s Investigational New Drug (IND) program. Coronzot’s novel mechanism targets a pivotal factor in cytokine storms. It removes an inflammatory overaccumulation of labile iron and replaces it with a minute amount of gallium or zinc.
RedHill acquired opaganib from US-based Apogee Biotechnology, which developed this oral drug to fight cancer, inflammation and viruses. RedHill has seen encouraging preliminary findings from six Israeli Covid-19 patients given opaganib under compassionate use to reduce lung inflammation. All were weaned from supplemental oxygen and discharged from the hospital without having to receive mechanical ventilation. RedHill plans a multi-center, randomized, double-blind, parallel-arm, placebo-controlled Phase 2/3 clinical study on 270 US patients with severe Covid-19 pneumonia.
InnoCan Pharma Israel and Tel Aviv University tech-transfer company Ramot are collaborating to develop a new CBD-loaded exosome technology to fight lung inflammation. Exosomes, small particles created from stem cells, can act as “homing missiles” targeting specific damaged organs and facilitating cell-to-cell communication. Combining the cell-healing properties of exosomes with the anti-inflammatory properties of the cannabis-derived compound CBD is expected to have a strong synergetic effect. The treatment is administrated by inhalation.
Stero Biotechs of Bnei Brak has started a small clinical trial at Rabin Medical Center in Petah Tikva on the tolerability, safety and efficacy of a CBD-enhanced steroid treatment for hospitalized Covid-19 patients. “Steroid treatment is usually the first or second line of treatment for hospitalized patients. CBD enhances the therapeutic effect of steroid treatment and treats the bio-mechanism affected by the virus,” the company explained.
Two Israeli cannabis R&D firms, Eybna Technologies and CannaSoul Analytics, are developing a proprietary terpene formulation for modulating cytokine storms. Terpenes are organic compounds found in cannabis and other plants. Studies suggest they can be effective antiviral agents.CannaSoul aims to identify other cannabis molecules capable of suppressing a cytokine storm in response to Covid-19 without completely suppressing the immune system. It is also studying how cannabis molecules could modulate the ACE2 receptor, which allows the virus to inject its genetic expression into human cells.
Based in Rehovot, Kamada has begun supplying its experimental plasma-derived Hyperimmune IgG therapy for compassionate use in severe Covid-19 cases in Israel. The treatment is based on plasma donated by recovered Israeli Covid-19 patients. One critically ill patient at Hadassah Medical Center showed initial improvement after having the experimental IgG therapy but ultimately did not survive.
The government-run Israel Institute for Biological Research (IIBR) announced in May that analogues of two drugs for Gaucher’s disease proved effective against SARS-CoV-2. This drug cocktail is made up of the FDA-approved Cerdelga and an analogue of a second drug in advanced stages of the approval process.
The IIBR study on cell cultures demonstrated that the two-drug treatment significantly reduced the replication capacity of the coronavirus and the destruction of the infected cell. This potential treatment is currently being tested in animals infected with the coronavirus.
Three months ago, Pepticom began implementing its proprietary AI technology on various coronavirus proteins to identify novel peptides that inhibit interaction between the spike protein of SARS-Cov-2 and the ACE2 receptor – thereby stopping the virus from entering the cell.
In April, Bonus BioGroup initiated a preclinical study of MesenCure, its unique drug for treating acute and life-threatening respiratory distress in coronavirus and pneumonia patients. MesenCure consists of activated mesenchymal stromal (stem) cells from healthy adult donors. The activation of these MSCs is intended to boost their ability to reduce lung inflammation, promote regeneration of the diseased lung tissue, and alleviate respiratory and other symptoms in the lungs.
NanoGhost is the startup she established to commercialize the technology, which has proven successful in treating pancreatic, lung, breast, prostate, and brain cancer in mice. The NanoGhost technology has been patented in the United States and Europe, with additional patents pending in India and China.
Enlivex Therapeutics of Ness Ziona is developing Allocetra, a novel immunotherapy medication to treat organ dysfunction and acute multiple organ failure associated with sepsis and Covid-19, as well as solid tumors. Allocetra rebalances a severely unbalanced immune system by engaging with the immune system’s own regulation mechanisms. It is designed to restore safe immune balance following a cytokine storm.
Organic chemist Nir London of the Weizmann Institute of Science in Rehovot is co-leading a collaborative project to identify small molecules that can bind to and inhibit a protease enzyme that the SARS-CoV-2 virus needs to reproduce. London and his research team had previously developed an advanced method for identifying potential inhibitors for numerous proteins.
The underlying source article is here and they mention the study about Ivermectin we covered out of Sheba Medical.
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