Israel in India to test corona diagnostic solutions

By Monitoring Desk
Friday – July 24, 2020
JERUSALEM (Israel): The Israeli defence, foreign affairs and health ministries will lead a unique operation with their Indian counterparts in the fight against COVID-19 (coronavirus), wherein an Israeli delegation, led by the directorate of defence research and development (D-DRD), of the Israel defence ministry, will conduct a series of tests to determine the effectiveness of a number of rapid diagnostic solutions, an official statement said on Thursday.

According to detail, the cooperation between Israel and India will enable the delegation and its Indian counterparts, to collect tens of thousands of samples in just 10 days, and analyse them using computer systems based on artificial intelligence (AI).

Israeli alternate prime minister, defence minister, Benny Gantz said, “The entire defence ministry has been mobilised to address the coronavirus crisis. We hope that the research and development led by the D-DRD together with our excellent industries and academic institutions, will lead to a breakthrough that will change the way we diagnose and fight the coronavirus, while giving the boost necessary to ‘restart’ our economy.”

Israeli foreign minister (FM) Gabi Ashkenazi said, “Since the start of the global pandemic, the foreign affairs ministry is working to advance international cooperation and mutual assistance. I see great importance in the cooperation with India in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic” asserting “This operation conveys a message of friendship and solidarity with India. It also provides a unique opportunity for scientific and technological cooperation that can assist Israel, India and the world in coping both with the pandemic and with the economic crisis that came with it.”

  In the coming weeks, the Israeli defence, foreign affairs and health ministries will lead an unprecedented operation in the fight against the coronavirus, in cooperation with the Indian office of the principal scientific adviser.

A senior D-DRD delegation will travel to India to conduct the final stages of testing of advanced technologies for the rapid diagnosis of the coronavirus.

Israel’s ambassador to India Ron Malka will board the flight, which will carry cutting-edge equipment donated by the foreign affairs ministry and members of the private sector. This delivery aims to assist India in dealing with the coronavirus crisis, and includes ventilators – exported to India following an exceptional approval.

Since the start of the pandemic, the D-DRD has tested dozens of diagnostic technologies. Some of them have matured and passed initial trials in Israel, however in order to complete testing and prove their effectiveness, these must be tested on a wide range of patients.

The cooperation between Israel and India will enable the delegation and its Indian counterparts, to collect tens of thousands of samples in just 10 days, and analyse them using computer systems based on AI.

This massive sampling will shorten processes and advance the approval of effective technology. All tests will be validated using polymerase chain reaction (PCR) tests.

In recent years, Israel-India relations have developed into a strategic partnership, and since the beginning of the coronavirus crisis, the two countries have agreed to provide mutual assistance and to cooperate in areas of research.

For the purpose of this specific activity, the government of India has designated a local team of around 100 professionals, as well as a team dedicated to the construction of testing sites that will be operated jointly by the Israeli and Indian delegations. 

The four tech systems that will be tested are: voice test, breathalyser test based on terra-hertz waves, isothermal test, and polyamino acids test.

What they all have in common is the ability to detect the presence of the coronavirus in the body quickly - usually within minutes.

Developing diagnostic capabilities is a goal for the state of Israel and of many additional countries around the world.

It is the most effective way to cut off ‘chains of infection,’ prevent prolonged quarantine and enable the reopening of the global economy.

The Israeli delegation consists of 20 individuals, and is led by ambassador Ron Malka, and the defence attaché in India, colonel Assaf Meller.

On the medical side, the delegation is led by professor Nati Keller, an infectious diseases specialist from Sheba Medical Centre (SMC), and Itai Gordon, the head of the innovation department at the health ministry.

In addition to the D-DRD team, the delegation also includes engineers and other professionals from the companies involved in the development of the various diagnostic technologies.