US/World News

Italy approves experimental Israeli drug used for corona patients

(JNS) The Israeli biopharmaceutical firm Redhill Biopharma has treated a coronavirus patient in Israel with an experimental drug that aims to lessen symptoms, following Italy’s approval of its use, The Jewish Chronicle reported on Tuesday, April 7. A coronavirus hospital patient was given the drug following approval from Israel’s Health Ministry under a compassionate-use program, which is when medical professionals treat patients with experimental drugs not as part of clinical trials, under special circumstances and with the approval of medical authorities. The drug, called opaganib, has undergone testing, but has yet to be approved for general use. It was designed to have anti-cancer, anti-viral and anti-inflammatory properties.

Opaganib is expected to be used on additional patients in Israel in the coming days and has already been tested on 131 people in the U.S. Italy approved the use of the drug for approximately 160 patients across three hospitals in the northern part of the country, which has been particularly hard-hit.

Dr. Mark Levitt, Redhill’s medical director, noted that “RedHill is working diligently to evaluate the potential of opaganib as a treatment for COVID-19 to help patients worldwide in urgent need of a treatment option.”

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