Coronavirus lab at Hadassah

Coronavirus lab at Hadassah

Five patients recently discharged from Hadassah-University Medical Center in Jerusalem were healthy and coronavirus-free after taking part in the first clinical trial of an innovative treatment developed by the hospital.

Allocetra, the drug used in the clinical trial, was developed with the Enlivex Company based on research conducted by Prof. Dror Mevorach, director of Hadassah’s Internal Medicine and Coronavirus departments. It had already been successfully tested on 10 sepsis patients.

All five patients had been hospitalized in serious or critical condition.

Prof. Dror Mevorach, director of Hadassah Hebrew University Medical Center's Internal Medicine and Coronavirus departments

Prof. Dror Mevorach, director of Hadassah Hebrew University Medical Center’s Internal Medicine and Coronavirus departments

“Allocetra is meant to treat a wide range of cases in which there is an overreaction of the immune system, which leads to an increase in the secretion of proteins by cells of the immune system called cytokines and causes a cytokine storm,” Mevorach said in a press release. “Its activity is carried out by treating cells taken from a healthy donor and engineering them in the laboratory in a way that, when they are injected into the patient’s body, will control the inflammation or storm of cytokines that is very harmful to patients.”

The clinical test was carried out with the permission of the Health Ministry’s Helsinki Committee by a team led by Prof. Vernon Van Heerden, director of Hadassah’s General Intensive Care Unit.

Prof. Vernon Van Heerden

Prof. Vernon Van Heerden

“We are happy that the patients in severe and critical condition recovered after the Allocetra treatment,” Enlivex said in the press release.

Hadassah-University Medical Center director-general Prof. Zeev Rotstein said: “Despite the war around and alongside intensive preparations to absorb the growing numbers of critically ill patients, Hadassah continues to innovate and lead the breakthroughs in the treatment of these corona patients… [We] are pleased that a drug developed in research within the walls of our hospital does indeed show therapeutic potential in these patients.”

“I hope that even those who must do their part in the budget and cash flow of the inpatient system in the country will finally wake up and help us help the public at this time,” he said.

Prof. Zeev Rotstein

Prof. Zeev Rotstein

The Health Ministry reported 4,953 new cases of coronavirus on Wednesday, with 239,806 infected since the outbreak. Among them were 823 in serious condition, including 205 who were intubated. The death toll was 1,547.

The number of moderately and seriously ill patients is expected to continue to rapidly rise in the coming days and weeks, according to a model cited by the Hebrew University of Jerusalem in a report on Wednesday. The model predicts that the number of serious cases will begin to significantly drop after October 16, the report said.

While the rate of increase is expected to slow as the mortality of the outbreak increases, no significant slowing is expected. The mortality in Israel is higher than the model predicted, while the number of serious cases is consistent with the model.

The percentage of moderately and seriously ill patients who have died rose during September, as the time spent being hospitalized for patients who died dropped significantly. This indicates a possible drop in the survival ability of the health system, either due to a failure to arrive for treatment or difficulties with treatment, the Hebrew University report said.