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Of course, we will share with all: Israel on COVID-19 ‘breakthrough’

Of course, we will share with all: Israel on COVID-19 ‘breakthrough’
Ron Malka
NEW DELHI, MAY 6 (AGENCIES) | Publish Date: 5/6/2020 12:54:42 PM IST

Israel’s ambassador to India, Ron Malka, on Wednesday reacted to reports of Israel’s breakthrough on Covid-19 antibodies. Commenting on the status of Covid-19 clinical trials, Malka said he is awaiting details on the same, news agency ANI reported.

“The processes are not finalised, we are at an advanced stage, yes, of course, we will share it with the world,” Malka told reporters. Malka also said that the coronavirus crisis has brought India and Israel closer. “Both countries are sharing their best practices in combating Covid-19 and facilitating new processes,” the envoy added.

Malka’s comments came a day after Israel’s Defence Minister, Naftali Bennett, said scientists at the country’s top biological research institute have made a “significant breakthrough” in developing an antibody to tackle Covid-19. “I am proud of the institute staff for this terrific breakthrough,” Bennett said, adding that “their creativity and the Jewish mind brought about this amazing achievement”.

Israel’s Institute for Biological Research (IIBR) is supervised by the Prime Minister’s Office and mandated to develop a vaccine for coronavirus. Bennet visited the labs at the institute on Monday and was shown the “antibody that attacks the virus in a monoclonal way and can neutralize it within the bodies of those ill”, a statement from his office said. The statement added that the antibody’s development had been completed and that the institute was in the process of patenting it.

“In the next stage, researchers will approach international companies to produce the antibody on a commercial scale,” the statement stated.

Large-scale antibody testing to begin soon

Israel is all set to begin a nationwide coronavirus antibody blood test among people to find out how widely the SARS-CoV-2 virus that causes COVID-19 has spread across its population. 

According to reports, the serological test will be initially carried out on so-called red zones having high incidences of coronavirus cases, as well as healthcare workers and police who have extensive contact with the public.

The antibody testing will help experts determine the prevalence of antibodies to COVID-19. The testing to be done by the Israeli Health Ministry for general survey purposes and not for diagnosing cases.

According to the report, these blood tests are currently being done on patients and staff at some hospitals in part to confirm COVID-19 diagnostic tests that make use of swabs estimated to be about 70 per cent accurate, reported Israeli newspaper Haaretz.

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