Israel and India are conducting trials here on a large sample of patients for four different kinds of technologies that have the potential to detect COVID-19 in about 30 seconds, including a breath analyser and a voice test, according to an Israeli statement.
Israeli Ambassador to India Ron Malka on Friday visited the special testing site created at the Dr Ram Manohar Lohia (RML) Hospital to witness the ongoing trials being conducted since the last three days for rapid COVID-19 testing, the Israeli release on his visit said.
The rapid testing is being jointly developed in cooperation with the Defense Research and Development Directorate of the Israeli Ministry of Defence, India's Defence Research and Development Organisation, Council of Scientific and Industrial Research and Principal Scientific Advisor, India — coordinated by the ministries of foreign affairs of Israel and India.
Malka was accompanied by Professor K VijayRaghavan, who is the principal scientific advisor to the prime minister.
"RML hospital is one of the testing sites which has started trials of four different kinds of technologies that have the potential to detect coronavirus in as less as 30 seconds," the statement said.
These simple, non-invasive technologies include a voice test that uses artificial intelligence to identify changes in the patient's voice and a breath analyser test which requires the patient to blow into a tube and it detects the virus using terra-hertz waves, it said.
There is also isothermal testing that enables identification of the coronavirus in a saliva sample and a test using polyamino acids that seeks to isolate proteins related to COVID-19, the statement said.
"These trials are being conducted on a large sample of patients in India and if the results validate the effectiveness of the tests, they would be mass manufactured in India and marketed to the world by Israel and India jointly," it said.
Speaking during his visit to the testing site, Malka said, "If even one of these tests is successful in detecting the virus in as less as half a minute, it will be the biggest breakthrough in COVID-19 identification that the world has been waiting for."
"By combining advanced Israeli and Indian technology and India's manufacturing prowess, we can find a way to resume our lives and exist alongside the virus till a vaccine is developed," he said.
Professor VijayRaghavan said the translation of cutting-edge basic science and technology to society is seen happening in this deep collaboration. "What was yesterday considered esoteric research is now being tested for implementation. Such robust tests are the touchstone of science," he said.
Noting that Israel and India share collaborations in every area of science, VijayRaghavan said the friendship and trust between the two countries that has developed over the years have made the ongoing studies happen with speed and quality.
"I am sure that some of these will be successful and result in great value to our countries and to humanity," VijayRaghavan was quoted as saying by the statement.
These trials are a part of a multi-pronged mission visiting India from Israel to cooperate on COVID-19 research and development, further cementing the strategic relationship between the two nations, the statement said.
Earlier this week, arriving on a special plane from Tel Aviv, the Israeli delegation also brought effective treatment and monitoring equipment that reduces exposure of healthcare workers to the virus, and 83 advanced respirators which are otherwise still banned for export in Israel, but have been brought here with a special waiver.