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Feeling better ‘after 2 hours’: Israeli COVID drug for critically ill enters Phase 3 trials

Yair Tayeb, a patient who recovered from COVID-19 at Jerusalem's Hadassah Ein Kerem Hospital, February 9, 2021 (Channel 13 screenshot)
Yair Tayeb, a patient who recovered from COVID-19 at Jerusalem's Hadassah Ein Kerem Hospital, February 9, 2021 (Channel 13 screenshot)

Channel 13 reports on experimental Israeli-made drug Allocetra, used to treat serious and critical COVID-19 cases, which has completed Phase 2 trials successfully.

Of 20 seriously ill patients treated with the drug so far, 90% recovered, the report says.

Allocetra treats the over-response of the immune system and inflammatory response that is sometimes seen in COVID-19 patients, called a cytokine storm. The phenomenon can cause severe immune system attacks on the body’s own organs, leading to organ failure and sometimes death.

Channel 13 speaks to one recovered patient, 49-year-old building inspector Yair Tayeb, who was released from the hospital three days after getting the drug.

“I couldn’t breathe, I could barely speak. [I was in] very very serious condition,” Tayeb says. “I went through an experience you can’t put into words.”

He says within two hours of receiving the drug, he felt a change. “They gave me the drug. Suddenly after two hours I started feeling something strange in my body. I stopped coughing, my breathing started to come back, I was feeling better. I stopped sweating. I couldn’t believe it. I was afraid to tell people I was okay, I was so excited.”

Dr. Dror Mevorach, head of one of Hadassah’s coronavirus wards and chief scientific and medical officer at Enlivex, who developed the treatment, says: “It is useful for serious and critical patients because it can prevent the need to ventilate them, and that’s the major goal because the moment you go into ventialtion, the entire situation changes and complications rise and it’s more difficult to treat.”

The drug is now entering Phase 3 trials and will be given to over 100 people.

Prof. Dror Mevorach, head of Hadassah Ein Kerem hospital’s coronavirus department, February 9, 2021 (Channel 13 screenshot)

“Two days ago I couldn’t stand on my legs,” Tayeb says as he leaves the hospital. “Look at me now, going home.”

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