A number of severely ill Covid-19 patients made a full recovery within five days after being treated with a relatively unknown cancer drug, according to multiple media reports in Israel today.
Researchers at the Ichilov Hospital in Tel Aviv told Israeli’s KAN News network that out of 30 seriously ill Covid-patients that were treated with the drug, 29 showed a significant improvement within two days and all were released within three to five days.
One patient ultimately did recover but this took “a few days” longer, according to the hospital’s Covid-19 lead, professor Nadir Arber.
The medication, called EXO-CD24, is a targeted drug that was reportedly developed as a cure for certain types of cancer.
Ichilov hospital decided to administer the drug to 30 moderate-to-seriously ill Covid-19 patients, which led to a success rate of 96% within a set trial period of five days, explained Arber, who is part of the hospital’s Integrated Cancer Prevention Centre.
EXO-CD24 is relatively inexpensive and must be given once a day for a period of five days. It fights the cytokine storm, a potentially lethal immune overreaction as a result of a coronavirus infection, which is believed to be responsible for many Covid-related deaths.
The drug uses so-called ‘exosomes’ – tiny carrier pouches that shuttle materials between cells – to deliver a protein called CD24 to the lungs, which Arber has been studying for decades.
“This protein is located on the surface of cells and has a well-known and important role in regulating the immune system,” researcher Shiran Shapira, who is part of Arber’s research team, told the Times of Israel earlier today.
Israeli media hail the results as “a huge breakthrough” and the hospital has reportedly reached out to the country’s Ministry of Health, requesting them for permission to extend and expand the trial.
KAN News first reported the findings.