In Tel Aviv’s Ichilov Medical Center in Israel, a new treatment has been developed for the novel coronavirus that causes COVID-19. The team of Israeli scientists and researchers have been racing to find a cure for COVID-19. Recently, the team conducted a study and the results indicated a huge breakthrough with two experimental drugs: Allocetra and EXO-CD24.
Over the last six months, the team of scientists and researchers worked to develop EXO-CD24. The purpose of this drug is to put a stop to the cytokine storm that occurs when the body contracts COVID-19. This occurs when the immune system loses control and begins attacking healthy cells, which occurs in the lungs in about 5-7% of COVID-19 patients. To date, 30 patients with moderate to severe COVID-19 symptoms received the EXO-CD24 substance. All 30 recovered and 29 recovered within five days of experiencing symptoms. The purpose of this drug is to fight the cytokine storm that worsens the symptoms, and even increases the chance of death, from COVID-19.
What Are Cytokines?
These molecules are often known as “the unsung heroes of the immune system.” That sounds contradictory when you consider that a cytokine storm worsens COVID-19 illness. Cytokines, which different immune cells produce, communicate with each other and radiate out to bind to both immune and non-immune receptors. They can essentially signal how to adjust the growth or behavior of certain cells because every organ contains cytokine receptors.
How Do Cytokines Work?
When a foreign substance, be it a virus, particle, or bacteria, enters the body, cytokines and organs respond in unison. The first immune cell to get wind of the pathogen is like a conductor that sends messages to other immune cells. This initial conductor essentially orchestrates the rest of the organs or cells to respond as directed. Cytokines can cause damage if a cytokine storm occurs. This is one of the complications of COVID-19, which can trigger the immune system to flood the bloodstream with cytokines, which are inflammatory proteins. Too many of them can kill tissues and damage organs. When this happens in COVID-19, people experience:
- Chest pain or pressure
- Trouble breathing (shortness of breath)
- Bluish lips or face
- New confusion
- Can’t fully wake up
How Does The New Israeli Drug Fight The Cytokine Storm?
The drug works to fight a cytokine storm by using exosomes, which are tiny carrier sacs that transport materials between cells. They deliver the CD24 protein to the lungs. This protein exists on the surface of cells and plays a major role in immune function. This protein works to calm the immune system, inhibiting the cytokine storm. The preparation of the experimental drug is given via inhalation, once a day, for a few minutes at a time, for five consecutive days.
The reason that researchers believe in this drug is because the preparation goes straight to the lungs upon inhalation, i.e. the eye of the storm. Unlike other vaccines or preparations, which may selectively restrain certain cytokines, this EXO-CD24 drug works broadly without side effects. Because of the way the drug performs in COVID-19 patients, it will now progress into more trial phases. At this time, health officials see this treatment as a “game-changer” in fighting the novel coronavirus.
According to Ron Gamzu, the former coronavirus czar and Ichilov director, the research is very exciting. It’s sophisticated enough to potentially save the lives of many coronavirus patients. Gamzu is confident in the phase one trials and hopes this drug will be able to remedy this horrific global pandemic.