It would be a game changer in the race to find a cure for Covid-19, Israel’s Defence Minister Naftali Bennett has claimed that the Israel Institute for Biological Research (IIBR) has achieved a “significant breakthrough” by developing an antibody to the novel coronavirus. The next step, he said, was to patent the discovery and mass produce it by tying up with global companies.

According to a statement by Bennett’s office, IIBR, which comes under the Prime Minister’s Office, was mandated to find a vaccine for Covid-19. Its researchers found an “antibody that attacks the virus in a monoclonal way and can neutralise it within the bodies of those ill” by identifying a protein that is efficient in killing the virus in a patient’s body. While the statement from the minister’s office did not say whether human trials of this antibody were conducted or not, according to a report, IIBR did conduct clinical trials to test the efficacy of this potential cure.

IIBR’s findings may not be without basis — a separate study, published on Monday in Nature Communications, by researchers at Utrecht University, Erasmus Medical Center and Harbour BioMed in The Netherlands, found that human monoclonal antibodies prevented SARS-Cov-2 virus, which causes Covid-19, from infecting other cells under laboratory conditions. Human monoclonal antibodies are antigen or pathogen recognising glycoproteins made by identical immune cells, all of which are clones of a unique parent cell.