Israel and India launch joint operation to test rapid diagnosis for COVID-19

July 26, 2020 by Aryeh Savir - TPS
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Israel has dispatched a 20-member team to India that will lead an unprecedented operation in the fight against the Coronavirus (COVID-19) and will conduct the final stages of testing of four advanced technologies for the rapid diagnosis of the Coronavirus.

COVID-19 quarantine. Credit: Pixabay.

The Israeli delegation led by the Directorate of Defence Research and Development (DDR&D) in the Israel Ministry of Defence will conduct a series of tests to determine the effectiveness of a number of rapid diagnostic solutions developed in Israel.

The cutting-edge equipment was donated to India by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and members of the private sector. This delivery aims to assist India in dealing with the Corona crisis, and includes ventilators, exported to India following an exceptional approval.

India has recorded over 1,400,000 COVID-19 cases with some 32,120 deaths since the outbreak of the pandemic.

The DDR&D over the past months has tested dozens of diagnostic technologies. Some of them have matured and passed initial trials in Israel, but the completion of the testing requires trials on a wide range of patients.

The operation in India will enable the Israeli delegation to collect tens of thousands of samples in just 10 days and analyze them using computer systems based on artificial intelligence.

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

Minister of Defense, Benny Gantz expressed hope that this operation will “lead to a breakthrough that will change the way we diagnose and fight the virus, while giving the boost necessary to ‘restart’ our economy.”

Foreign Minister Gabi Ashkenazi underscored the “great importance in cooperating with India in the fight against Corona.”

“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,” he added.

Israel’s Foreign Ministry stated Thursday that in recent years, Israel-India relations have developed into a strategic partnership, and since the beginning of the Corona crisis, the two countries have agreed to provide mutual assistance and to cooperate in areas of research.

For the purpose of this specific operation, the Indian government has designated a team of around 100 professionals, as well as a team dedicated to the construction of testing sites.

The four tech systems that will be tested are the Corona voice test, breathalyzer test based on terahertz waves, isothermal test, and polyamine acids test.

The online voice test is based on artificial intelligence. The test analyzes the recording of a human voice and aims to identify changes in the patient’s voice and a possible deterioration in the condition of the patients’ respiratory system.

The Breathalyzer test is based on terahertz waves. The patient breaths into a sterile sampling kit, after which the sample is analyzed using artificial intelligence.

Isothermal testing is a biochemical testing method that enables the detection of the virus in a saliva sample. An inexpensive sample kit has been developed, which detects the presence of the virus with the help of a chemical reaction that takes place once the content is heated at about 60 degrees Celsius. The kit is suitable for at-home use and produces a result within 30 minutes.

Testing using Polyamino acids is a biochemical method that enables the detection of Coronavirus proteins collected in a saliva sample. Using the appropriate instrumentation, a sample may be analyzed in several minutes.

The four diagnostic tools can detect the presence of the virus in the body quickly, usually within minutes. Rapid diagnostic capabilities are the most effective way if cutting off chains of infection, preventing prolonged quarantine and enabling the reopening of the global economy.

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