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COVID-19: First three corona patients treated at Hadassah with plasma-based ‘passive vaccine’ released from hospital

Coronavirus in Israel. Nurse wearing face mask with flag Israel holding a positive blood test result for the new rapidly spreading Coronavirus. (Bermix Studio)
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The Medical Center explained that the antibody being used for the treatment is called immunoglobulin, otherwise known as IgG, and was developed by Hadassah and Israeli biopharmaceutical company Kamada

By ILANIT CHERNICK

In a huge step, the first three coronavirus patients treated with a plasma-based passive vaccine in a clinical trial at Israel’s Hadassah Medical Center have been released from hospital. 

Following Thursday’s announcement by Hadassah, the Medical Center explained that the antibody being used for the treatment is called immunoglobulin, otherwise known as IgG, and was developed by Hadassah and Israeli biopharmaceutical company Kamada.

“The study, approved by the Ministry of Health, encompasses a number of hospitals and provides unique and first-of-its-kind treatment in Israel, based on Kamada’s product,” Hadassah said in a statement. “[Kamada] specializes in developing and manufacturing plasma-based products, based on corona antibodies isolated and purified by the biopharmaceutical company from plasma donors who have recovered [from COVID-19] and have developed a high level of antibodies against the virus.”

According to Prof. Zeev Rothstein, director of Hadassah Medical Center, for the past three months, Hadassah has been collecting plasma donations from recovered coronavirus patients, “who, after their recovery, with the help of Yad Avraham and the ultra-Orthodox community, had high antibodies (serology) in their blood.” 

Rothstein, who was among the initiators of the collection of plasma from recovered corona patients so that antibody treatment would be produced from these donations, said that “the plasma donations were collected by the blood bank at Hadassah. 

“[They were then] transferred together with those collected by Magen David Adom to the Kamada company, where the appropriate antibodies were produced for the experimental treatment that raises many hopes in Israel and around the world.”

Dr. Asa Kessler, a physician from the medical center’s COVID-19 department, explained that “according to the approved clinical study outline, corona patients receiving the treatment are those who are suffering from pneumonia due to the virus.

“We are very encouraged and satisfied with the clinical research,” Kessler added.

Hadassah said that the fact that the first three patients have been released from hospital and returned home following the treatment demonstrates the rapid clinical benefit of this passive vaccine. 

Kamada recently announced its Phase 1/2 clinical trial of the plasma-derived IgG product as a potential treatment for coronavirus disease in Israel.

“This Phase 1/2 open-label, single-arm multi-center study was approved by the Ministry of Health in Israel,” the company said on Monday. “The trial will assess the safety, pharmacokinetics, and pharmacodynamics of the Company’s plasma-derived IgG product in hospitalized, non-ventilated COVID-19 patients with pneumonia.” 

The added that a total of 12 eligible patients will be enrolled in the trial and will receive Kamada’s product at a single dose of 4g within 10 days of initial symptoms. Following this, they will be monitored for 84 days. 

Kamada said it also plans to “further explore the potential of its IgG product to prevent COVID-19 disease in healthy subjects at risk in a separate study.”

In June, Hadassah claimed that it was the first hospital in the world to use the newly-developed IgG passive vaccine to treat a coronavirus with one of the Medical Center’s critically ill patients responding positively just hours after receiving itt.

Concluding, Rothstein said that “Hadassah is proud not only to be the busiest and most effective corona testing laboratory in Israel, but also the hospital that collects from dozens of recovering the plasmas they donate, in order to maintain mutual guarantee and save corona patients from deteriorating respiratory distress and death.”

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