Israel’s defence minister has said that the country’s military bio-lab has made a “significant breakthrough” in the search for a possible treatment for Covid-19 patients.
Naftali Bennett made the announcement on Tuesday, saying military scientists at the Israel Institute for Biological Research (IIBR) had developed antibodies that help the immune system fight the infection.
Some scientists claim that antibodies can neutralise the novel coronavirus inside the bodies of those carrying it, but it is not yet clear whether the treatment has been tested on animals or humans.
Bennett said he visited the top-secret lab, whose scientists were recently allowed to work with peers in the civilian sector, and was briefed on “a significant breakthrough in finding an antidote for the coronavirus”.
His office added that the treatment was currently being patented and that the IIBR was looking to mass produce it.
It comes a day after researchers in the Netherlands also said they had developed an antibody which had proven effective at killing the virus in a lab setting.
Countries around the world are pursuing a vaccine for the new virus, with the University of Oxford reporting this weekend that foreign state-funded hackers had sought to access its research.
Pharmaceutical companies are gearing up to mass produce the vaccine when tests confirm that it is both safe and effective.