Israeli Scientists to Travel to India to Develop Rapid Coronavirus Tests

YERUSHALAYIM -
Boxes with medical equipment to be sent by the Foreign Ministry to India. (Foreign Ministry Media and Public Affairs Bureau)

In the coming weeks, Israel’s Foreign Ministry, Defense Ministry and Health Ministry will lead an unprecedented anti-coronavirus cooperation operation between India and Israel.

A special planned flight from Tel Aviv to New Delhi is set to carry a high ranking Ministry of Defense R&D team which has been working with India’s chief scientist K. Vijay Raghavan and the R&D wing of the Indian Defense Ministry to develop rapid testing for coronavirus in under 30 seconds.

Merging Israeli technology with Indian development and production capabilities aims to allow a swift resumption of normal life alongside the virus. The flight will also bring breakthrough emerging Israeli technologies for combating coronavirus, which have been donated by the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs and private sector meant to bolster India’s response to the virus outbreak.

Finally, the plane will deliver mechanical ventilators which were given special permission by the Government of Israel for export to India.

The past few years have cemented the strategic relations between India and Israel and have included two historic visits of the prime ministers in Israel and in India.

Since the outbreak of the global pandemic, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi have held three telephonic conversations in which they promised mutual assistance in dealing with the virus and committed to joint technological and scientific research between the countries.

India is currently facing a record number of over one million coronavirus cases. India seeks to integrate advanced technologies in its hospitals as they prepare to treat massive waves of COVID-19 patients on an Indian scale.

A view of almost empty roads is seen after authorities announced lockdown for two days every week in the West Bengal state, amidst the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), in Kolkata, India, Thursday. (Reuters/Rupak De Chowdhuri)

The Israeli companies chosen by the MFA, MoD and IDF to be sent to India are potentially given unique access to one of the largest economies in the world to provide monitoring and treatment technologies while significantly reducing contact between patients and medical staff.

By opening the door to India’s market with its development and production capabilities, these Israeli technologies can be mass produced at a lower cost and could in future be jointly exported to third countries.

In the first outbreak of coronavirus in Israel, India gave Israel special authorization to acquire medicine, masks and protective gear. Now, Israel is proud to reciprocate this significant gesture and grant authorization for purchasing of respirators to its great friend in the east.

The unique cooperation between India and Israel has allowed both countries to better deal with the coronavirus threat and could potentially change the way we live beside the virus.

Israeli Ambassador to India, Dr. Ron Malka, said, “I am proud to lead this Israeli delegation to India. It is at times like this that our friendship is tested, and the State of Israel is happy to lend a helping hand to India in this complicated and difficult time.

“I am confident that India and Israel can work together to find innovative and cheap solutions to help the world overcome this crisis,” he added.

“The COVID-19 pandemic is a global challenge, so it is only right that the solution be a global scientific cooperation between countries. India and Israel’s military R&D cooperation is well known for its success.

“I have no doubt the same will be seen in the private sector joined by brilliant scientific minds from both countries to introduce a breakthrough in swift and simple testing procedures.”

The equipment is to be tested in India on thousands of volunteers after an agreement was reached by the two countries.

The equipment is compatible with four Israeli developed technologies including analysis of sound waves, breathalyzers based on teraherz waves, isothermic identification and checking polyamino acids.

If trials are successful, scientists hope they will help both India and Israel to break chains of contagion of COVID-19 in the fight against the pandemic.