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This Could Be Israel’s Level-Up in the Fight Against COVID

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JERUSALEM—As the hours clicked down towards Sept. 1, when Israel embarked on a risky experiment of opening the school year while COVID-19 infections spike to unprecedented levels, the country’s COVID czar, Salman Zarka, gloomily acknowledged to a local radio station that “the picture is very disturbing, and regarding morbidity, the situation is really not good. Looking at the rise in morbidity, unfortunately, there is no surprise in the number of deaths.”

As Israel has learned the hard way, even with highly effective vaccines, it is impossible to prevent COVID-19 infections completely. The world’s huge unvaccinated majority and reopened borders have created a global petri dish for viral mutations. Surges in the highly infectious Delta and Delta-plus variants are even walloping countries that, like Israel, successfully ran mass vaccination campaigns.

Israel’s booster shot rollout appears to be flattening the curve, but the fundamental problem, Zarka said, is that “we still do not have a treatment for the virus itself.”

There is nothing more vital for the ongoing fight against COVID-19 than vaccines, but the fact that the virus isn’t going away has put the need for therapeutic drugs to treat it back on the front burner.

“Nothing is 100 percent effective,” Tel Aviv University virologist Oren Kobiler told The Daily Beast. “The vaccines are essential, but they wane earlier for the elderly, for people with preexisting conditions and for the immuno-compromised, who tend to catch the virus. So it is important to have........

© The Daily Beast

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