May this find you and yours all healthy and hanging in there during this unique time in our modern history. The coronavirus pandemic continues to spread far and wide with attendant health and economic consequences for many. All are looking for an end to the crisis. If we look at the glass half full, a potential cure may not be that far away.
The Haifa-based, Israeli company, Pluristem Therapeutics Inc., reports that preliminary testing of COVID-19 treatment on six critically-ill coronavirus patients showed a 100% survival rate, with four of them showing respiratory improvement. The company also treated its first American patient suffering from COVID-19 complications. The latter was carried out in a hospital in New Jersey. the US. trial was run under the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s Single Patient Expanded Access Program, which is part of the US. Coronoavirus Treatment Acceleration Program – an emergency program aimed at moving new treatments to corona patients as quickly as possible.
According to the Company, “Pluristem has made the strategic decision to work only with adult stem cells, purified from the placenta after birth and, therefore, not subject to ethical or religious controversy.”
The six Israeli patients were treated at three different hospitals here for one week, under a compassionate use program. All suffered from acute respiratory failure and COVID-19 related complications. Four of them had other severe medical issues.
Not only had all the patients survived one week later, According to Pluristem, all of the six patients not only survived the week, but four of them showed respiratory improvement, with three of them being weaned off of ventilators.
This comes as a breath of fresh air, particularly as the number of Israel’s dead has climbed about 20% in the last two days, with over 12,000 having tested positive for the coronavirus so far, including an 8-day-old infant, who was diagnosed today and hospitalized. It seems that the virus is not listening to what the medical authorities have to say, namely, that it afflicts mostly the elderly and, particularly, those with pre-existing medical conditions.
If that wasn’t enough, the government authorized a nation-wide restriction about traveling between different community, which went into effect at 5:00 p.m. today and will remain in effect until 5:00 a.m. on Thursday morning. This is the second time in one week that there is a nationwise lockdown, the first being on the eve of Passover and now, at the end of the last day of Passover, which is also a national day of celebration here. The restriction will continue and include the festivities that usually take place during the Mimuna, a non-Biblical event that is celebrated by many in Israel to mark the end of the Feast of Unleavened Bread and allows for the eating of regular bread again. All normal celebrations for these two days are cancelled.
The political on-again, off-again, negotiations between Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Benny Gantz to form an emergency, unity government continue, with the latest round of meetings taking place this morning and afternoon, without success. They are scheduled to continue right after the holiday, that is, not before Wednesday evening. The joint statement released by the Likud (Netanyahu’s party) and Blue and White (Gantz’s party) was to the effect that the intended goal of Wednesday evening’s meeting is “to reach agreement on the establishment of a national emergency government”. For all intents and purposes, the mandate given to Benny Gantz to form a government expired last night. Israeli President, Reuven (Ruvi) Rivlin can give Netanyahu the mandate, or he can turn it over to the Knesset. But, one thing is clear – if the leaders of the two major parties do not reach agreement by tomorrow night, we will go back to politicking and in a worse-case scenario, we will be on our way to a fourth election.
Hard to believe. In two days, I’ll have been in lockdown for a month. Could be worse…I could have written these lines after two months! Looking at it from the bright side, I’m thankful that my family and I are healthy, I didn’t have to shave during this entire period, I had more time to pray, read and write and to be be in contact with folks, near and far. So, there are positive things to dwell on.
For those who are able to celebrate the last day of Passover/Feast of Unleavened Bread, enjoy … in good health! L’chaim!
Remember: Bless, be blessed and be a blessing!