It's too early to call it a miracle cure. But if the conclusions of a recent Phase 1 study for a new drug called EXO-CD24 are confirmed in subsequent trials, we may have the first truly revolutionary therapy to cure Covid-19.
This drug to cure Covid-19 would obviously be in addition to the coronavirus vaccines. Drugs that will help prevent severe COVID-19 cases and deaths and even reduce the spread of the disease.
Vaccines: very important, but they are not everything
Vaccines can give the immune system a "warning" about the threat it may face (the real virus) but they have some limitations. First of all, they don't work on infected people. Secondly, the supply of vaccines is still limited and vaccinations are not available for anyone who wants one. Finally, there is the threat of mutations coronavirus that could reduce the effect of vaccines on the virus and extend the pandemic.
If EXO-CD24 can actually help most coronavirus patients recover within five days, it won't just help cure Covid-19 and save more lives. It would complement the vaccines and help deal with mutations.
The drug is intended to calm the immune response that can be deadly in Covid-19 (the so-called "cytokine storm") and should have the same effect regardless of how SARS-CoV-2 evolves.
The problem with recovering from Covid-19 is that the immune system can develop an exacerbated reaction in the risk groups, leading to multiple organ failure and death. The phenomenon is called a cytokine storm and is usually fatal.
In Phase 1 at the Ichilov Medical Center in Tel Aviv, EXO-CD24 was shown to be able to cure Covid-19 within 3-5 days in 29 out of 30 patients. All 30 COVID-19 patients, however, recovered after developing moderate to severe.
The hospital that conducted the trial described the success as a "huge step forward", according to Time of Israel.
How EXO-CD24 works
The drug that can cure Covid-19 within 3-5 days is not an antiviral that chases the virus, trying to eliminate it. The immune system can do it by itself: and it is no coincidence that many people can cure Covid-19 even without treatment.
This drug deals with the cytokine storm by preventing overreaction.
The drug uses exosomes, small transporters that can move materials between cells to deliver the CD24 protein directly to the lungs. This is a protein that Professor Nadir Arber has been studying for decades.
“The preparation is inhaled once a day for a few minutes, for five days,” says Arber. “The preparation is directed directly to the heart of the storm (the lungs). For this, unlike other formulas that selectively retain a certain cytokine, or operate widely but cause many serious side effects, EXO-CD24 is administered locally, works widely and without unwanted effects ".
This protein is found on the surface of cells and has a well-known and important role in regulating the immune system.Shiran Shapira, researcher and co-author of the research on EXO-CD24
The drug will move on to later stages of the research, which should provide more data on efficacy and safety.