EXO-CD24, an experimental inhaled medication developed at Israel’s Tel Aviv Sourasky Medical Center, cured all patients with moderate-to-severe coronavirus cases in a Phase I clinical trial.
Developed over the past six months at the hospital, EXOCD24 stops the “cytokine storm,” a process in which the immune system goes out of control and starts attacking healthy cells, that occurs in the lungs of 5-7 percent of COVID-19 patients. In trials with 30 patients, the drug, which is administered by inhalation once a day for a few minutes, improved the condition of 29 within a few days, the hospital reported last week. The 30th patient also eventually recovered, but over a longer period of time.
The experimental treatment involves enriching the exosomes released by cell membranes with a 24CD protein that helps regulate the immune system and has two unique characteristics: It inhibits the over-secretion of cytokines and is delivered directly to the lungs, causing no systemic side effects that injected or oral drugs can create.
Meanwhile, Enlivex Therapeutics also reported last week positive results from a multi-center Phase II clinical trial of its experimental COVID-19 immunotherapy drug Allocetra in severe and critical patients.
In October, five COVID-19 intensive care patients were discharged from Hadassah University Medical Center in Jerusalem after treatment with Allocetra. Nine severe and seven critical COVID-19 patients were later treated with Allocetra in the Phase II clinical trial. Fourteen of them recovered and were discharged from the hospital after an average of 5.3 days.
Altogether, 19 out of 21 Phase II and Phase I Allocetra trial patients recovered and were discharged from the hospital after an average of 5.6 days. Most of the patients in both studies had preexisting risk factors, such as male gender, obesity and hypertension.
Allocetra is based on the research of Enlivex chief scientific and medical officer Dr. Dror Mevorach, head of internal medicine and of one of Hadassah’s coronavirus wards. It works by restoring balance to the immune system and could potentially benefit patients suffering from cytokine storms and organ dysfunctions in addition to treating COVID-19 patients.
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(Edited by Carlin Becker and David Martosko)
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