Rehovot based biopharmaceutical company Kamada has announced that it has started to work on developing a blood-plasma derived treatment against the coronavirus.
“The concept that we are developing is not new. People that are exposed to a virus develop antibodies for that virus,” Amir London, Chief Executive Officer of Kamada, told The Jerusalem Post. “If patients who have recovered from the disease and are in convalescence donate plasma, there is a very good likelihood that in that plasma there are going to be antibodies.”Kamada has two FDA-approved products, including an anti-rabies treatment that is sold all over the world. The company, which is publicly traded in Tel Aviv, is also the sole supplier of anti-snake venom to the Health Ministry. London explained that they plan to collect plasma from patients recovering from COVID-19 and to purify its antibodies using their proprietary technology.“There is no assurance that this attempt will be successful because we don’t know yet what is going to be the level of antibodies in the plasma of people who recovered from COVID-19.” he told the Post. “But based on our experience, as well as on the experience of other companies in the field, we believe there is going to be a sufficient quantity of them. For sure, we know how to purify the plasma.”The kind of treatment that Kamada aims to develop is known among professionals as a “passive vaccine.”“A vaccine triggers the immune system of a person to develop antibodies; in this case, we are providing the antibodies themselves,” London explained. “Our treatment is a medicine: It targets the severely ill patients, whose situation is worsening and who need a booster to fight the virus.”Kamada is working to collect plasma in different facilities from people who have recovered from the viral disease.“Sheba Medical Center, the largest hospital treating COVID-19 patients, is definitely one of the partners we are working with,” London said.Because the treatment they are working on is supposed to serve severely ill patients, he explained that the process to develop it does not require a complete clinical trial as in the case of a new drug – and therefore, it might be able to be expedited.“The concept and the technology have been already approved for other viruses – which means that, assuming we are going to have sufficient plasma and that the plasma is going to have a sufficient level of antibodies, which we are not sure yet, it is a matter of a few months to have the product ready for compassionate treatment,” he concluded.