India's 'Amazing' Support Could Help Bring Good News to World on Rapid Covid-19 Testing: Israel
A scientist marks samples during the research and development of a vaccine against the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) at a laboratory. REUTERS/Anton Vaganov
Applauding as "amazing" India's support in developing a rapid test for COVID-19, Israel on Wednesday expressed hope that the joint efforts could bring "good news" to the world within a few months.
Israeli and Indian scientists are jointly working on an ambitious project to develop a rapid corona test that can provide results within tens of seconds.
The Directorate of Defence Research and Development (DDR&D), in the Israel Ministry of Defence (IMoD), and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs have completed their mission of collecting samples to test and validate four Israeli diagnostic technologies, a press statement by IMoD here said.
"The goal is to bring to the world the technological capability to perform rapid Corona tests within tens of seconds, which will enable the opening of airports, office buildings, schools, train stations and more," Col. Asaf Maller, Israel's Defense Attache to India, was quoted in the statement as saying.
"The Indian support for the project is amazing. All research and development bodies, including the Scientific Adviser to Prime Minister (Narendra) Modi, have joined the operation in full force. We hope that in a few months we will be able to bring good news to the world, Maller emphasised.
The Israeli team which left for India on July 26 will be returning in the coming days with more than 20,000 samples collected from COVID-19 patients, sources here said.
"The goal is to bring to the world the technological capability to perform rapid corona tests within tens of seconds,Maller stressed.
Since the start of the pandemic, the DDR&D had 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 had to be tested on a wide range of patients, defence ministry sources told PTI.
The four tech systems that are being tested are - voice test, breathalyzer test based on terra-hertz waves, isothermal test, and polyamino acids test.
Prime Minister Modi and his Israeli counterpart Benjamin Netanyahu have held three telephonic conversations since the outbreak of the pandemic and promised mutual assistance in dealing with the virus, committing to joint technological and scientific research between the two countries.
"We are in the midst of processing and analysing the data that we have collected, and will continue this process upon our arrival to Israel. We are optimistic and hopeful that we will put in place a system for the rapid diagnosis of the coronavirus," Head of the delegation Israeli delegation on behalf of DDR&D, Lt Col Yaniv Meirman, was quoted as saying in the IMoD press statement.
The joint team included representatives of the Ministries of Defence, Foreign Affairs, and Health. They set up six drive-in sites in Delhi for sampling purposes, and two labs for data processing using technologies they took from Israel.
The Government of India also assigned hundreds of local professionals to collect the samples (50-100 per site), from thousands of volunteers via non-invasive means.
Four types of samples were collected from each patient: sound, saliva, breath and a swab test.
The activity was supervised by joint Indo-Israeli teams at all sites, ensuring that everyone complied with predetermined guidelines and regulation.
The samples that were collected were inserted to systems based on artificial intelligence, enabling the DDR&D personnel and representatives of Israeli industries to begin processing and analysing the data.
This procedure will continue upon the return of the delegation to Israel, IMoD said.
We came to India to enrich Israeli diagnostic technologies and while there, we found real partners - partners who were fully committed to the success of the mission. We are in the midst of processing and analyzing the data that we have collected, and will continue this process upon our arrival to Israel", Meirman noted.
"We are optimistic and hopeful that in the near future we will put in place a system for the rapid diagnosis of the coronavirus, which will make it possible to further open the Israeli economy, 'open' the skies and reduce the damage caused by the pandemic, he said.
The activity in India was conducted under the strict guidelines and regulation to ensure the safety and health of all those involved.
The members of the delegation underwent three corona tests during their stay in India and were found to be negative for the virus, IMoD said.