On Thursday, Envilex Therapeutics, an Israeli immunotherapy company, gave some good news to the media and public amongst the angst of the rising coronavirus cases. They reported that five patients, who were in severe critical condition after contracting the Covid-19 virus, quickly recovered. This was made possible by the company’s administration of its very own experimental treatment.
Envilex allowed doctors to give its Allocetra treatment to the infected patients while conducting a clinical trial at the Hadassah Ein Kerem Hospital in Jerusalem. Within days of receiving this treatment, patients were on their way to a speedy recovery.
Three of the subjects, who had been in severe condition, were allowed to check themselves out of the hospital just five and a half days later after receiving the treatment. Two other patients took three days longer. The company informed that at the time of their discharge, all five patients tested negative for the coronavirus.
In a statement, Envilex provided further details. They said that the administration of AllocetraTM showed no severe adverse events in the patients. The therapy was also well-received and well-tolerated. Though therapeutics is only permitted for administration in moderate conditions, the company hopes to use this treatment for serious cases as well.
The way Allocetra works is by treating the response of inflammation and the immune system that coronavirus patients often display. It is called a cytokine storm. As per this phenomenon, the body’s immune system attacks the organs of the body, leading to organ failure. In some cases, death is also a likely result.
The company provided further insight into the matter by explaining the cytokine storms. They informed that it is difficult to treat these complex responses because they involve various biological systems, which interact and react at the same time. Cytokines are basically proteins that summon immune cells when an immune response is needed, and are used in cell signaling.
Thus, Allocetra makes use of the body’s regulation mechanisms to suppress the storm without causing any harm to the immune system. According to Envilex, the treatment infuses numerous dying and early apoptotic cells into the bloodstream. The first responders of the body, the dendritic cells and the macrophages, feed on the apoptotic cells and thus, calm the storm.
The company has tested the safety of this drug before as well in a small group. They now plan to launch the next phases of their clinical trials for patients of coronavirus, who are in critical condition.