Today we mourn the loss of Hanan Drori, a 26-year-old reserve soldier from Psagot who tragically succumbed to a serious injury he sustained in Gaza. Further complicating his condition, he had also contracted a dangerous fungal infection. Drori was rushed to Sheba hospital where his condition was reported to be in a very critical state.
The experts and medical practitioners involved in his case had hoped to treat his infection with an experimental drug. Dr. Fazit Shaked, a clinical pharmacist and drug therapy expert, emphasized that the drug in question has yet to receive approval from the FDA, thus making it an experimental drug.
As Dr. Marina Tamir Tsedkin, an infection specialist, further explains, the drug is new and quite expensive. The final approvals for its use have not yet been obtained, hence it is still categorized as an experimental drug and has not been made available to the public on a global scale.
In a desperate and commendable effort to save Drori’s life, a dramatic operation unfolded behind the scenes. His family, in collaboration with the hospital, reached out to Pfizer, the pharmaceutical company, to arrange for the transport of the drug, Fosmanogepix, from Ireland to Israel. An insider source paints a vivid picture of the ordeal, describing it as an ‘international operation’ spearheaded by Pfizer.
They explain that the drug is still in its early stages of research and is not yet accessible to the general public. It’s only sought after when all other approved treatments prove to be ineffective. Given the dire situation of this soldier, all parties including Pfizer, the Ministry of Health, and even the Israeli Embassy in Ireland, rallied to assist in the endeavor. They worked tirelessly to secure the necessary approvals in order to bring the medicine to Israel.
As the source further notes, under normal circumstances, such an operation would take many weeks to complete. However, in this case, they were able to expedite the process and bring the medicine to Israel within just 48 hours. Tragically, despite their best efforts, the medicine arrived too late to be administered to the critically ill soldier.
The same source also mentions that this is the third instance where the drug has been brought to Israel on an emergency basis to aid a soldier in the current war. In the previous two cases, it has been successful in curing the soldiers of their fungal infections.
David Papo, chairman of the Pharmacists’ Association in Israel, adds to the conversation, emphasizing that the existing, approved treatments for such fungal and mold infections are not always effective in saving the lives of those afflicted.
This, unfortunately, is not an isolated case. Approximately two months ago, another soldier lost his life after contracting a fungal infection in Gaza. He was rushed to Asuta Hospital for treatment, but despite the best efforts of the medical team, he too passed away. He is remembered by his parents and three brothers.
Ministry of Health: “Our hearts go out to the family in their time of sorrow. We recognize that this is an experimental drug. Therefore, we immediately approved its importation to Israel as a compassionate treatment and even assisted in bringing it, in line with the clinical recommendation of the treating doctors.”