By Arie Egozi
Tel Aviv. Israel and India will cooperate on developing techniques to identify the Coronavirus. A senior delegation from Israel’s Directorate of Defense Research and Development (DDRD) is set to depart to India in the coming weeks to develop new and rapid Coronavirus tests in cooperation with their Indian counterparts.
The Israeli team plans to bring new technologies they worked and tested on in recent months to fight the COVID-19 pandemic, in order to complete their research and help India fight the Coronavirus. Israeli and Indian scientific cooperation on the matter has been ongoing in recent months.
The Foreign Ministry also plans to send aid packages to India on the flight, including sanitising and disinfection equipment to protect medical staff, along with ventilators, which received special authorisation to be sent out of Israel.
The delegation plans to test four different technologies for detecting Coronavirus: sound waves, breathalysers based on terahertz waves, isothermic identification and checking polyamine acids. The sound wave testing is based on findings that Coronavirus patients’ voices change in the early stages of the illness.
All of these methods are meant to allow for rapid Coronavirus testing, in some cases in a matter of minutes, which would allow for the chain of infection to be cut off earlier, prevent people from going into isolation unnecessarily and allow the world economy to be reopened.
DDRD head Danny Gold said on July 23 that the rapid tests could be used in “hospitals, malls, everywhere, so the economy can run again.”
The Israeli team needs a larger number of subjects on which to test the new technologies to check for Coronavirus, and is expected to test them on tens of thousands confirmed Coronavirus patients.
Indian government has designated 100 professionals to support the Israeli effort and many dozens more to build testing zones to be operated by Indians and Israelis.
The samples will be used for machine learning, to find commonalities between them and shorten the process for authorising the new testing technologies. The tests will be verified with PCR diagnostic panels, the commonly-used Coronavirus test.
The Israeli delegation consists of 20 people, led by Israeli Ambassador to India Ron Malka and Military Attache to India Col Asaf Meller, as well as Prof Nati Keller, an infectious disease expert from Sheba Medical Center, and Itai Gordon, head of the Health Ministry’s innovation department. DDRD representatives will join them, as well as engineers and developers from private sector companies that developed the new technologies.
Israeli Defense Minister Benny Gantz expressed hope that “the research and development efforts led by DDRD together with academia and tour excellent industries will bring a breakthrough that will change the way we diagnose the virus and fight it.”
Foreign Minister of Israel, Gabi Ashkenazi, said the cooperation with India has great importance and this operation “sends a message of friendship and solidarity and is an opportunity for unique scientific and technological cooperation that can help Israel, India and the whole world.”