05 May 2020
Jerusalem: Israel Institute for Biological Research (IIBR) has developed an antibody which can neutralise the virus responsible for COVID-19 within the bodies of those infected, the country's Defense Minister Naftali Bennett has said.
Recounting his visits to the labs of the institute, Bennett on Monday said that he witnessed a "significant breakthrough".
He was shown the "antibody that attacks the virus in a monoclonal way and can neutralise it within the bodies of those ill," according to a statement from his office, as reported The Times of Israel.
Located in Ness Ziona, the Israel Institute for Biological Research (IIBR) is a secretive unit that works under the country' Prime Minister's Office, said the report.
After completing the development phase of the antibody, the researchers are now in the process of patenting the find "and in the next stage, researchers will approach international companies to produce the antibody on a commercial scale."
"I am proud of the institute staff for this terrific breakthrough," Bennett was quoted as saying in the statement.
The statement from the Defense Minister's office did not specify whether human trials were conducted.
Earlier on Monday, Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu committed $60 million at an international donors conference raising funds for the joint fight against COVID-19 pandemic.
According to data from Johns Hopkins University, over 16,000 people in Israel have tested positive for COVID-19 which has so far killed 237 people in the country.
Globally, more than 3.6 million people have tested positive for the disease which has so far killed over 252,000 people.