Coronavirus: India-Israel joint trials for new COVID-19 testing technologies making steady progress! Details

By: |
August 6, 2020 9:49 AM

Israel’s Ambassador to India Ron Malka and NITI Aayog CEO Amitabh Kant on Wednesday visited the special site created for this purpose at the Dr Ram Manohar Lohia (RML) Hospital.

The team of researchers with Israel’s Ambassador to India Ron Malka and NITI Aayog CEO Amitabh Kant at the RML Hospital.The team of researchers with Israel’s Ambassador to India Ron Malka and NITI Aayog CEO Amitabh Kant at the RML Hospital.

Coronavirus testing: Joint India-Israel trials for new technologies to conduct rapid non-invasive COVID-19 testing complete nine days! Israel’s DRDD, Ministry of Defence and India’s DRDO have collaborated and are conducting mass testing and collecting thousands of samples from both the countries to effectively reach a diagnostic solution. This would help both the countries tackle the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. Now this drive of mass testing and collection of large amounts of samples has successfully completed nine days. According to a statement issued by the Embassy of Israel in India, if everything proceeds as per the plan, the countries would be able to make rapid tests available for mass usage within the next few months.

With regard to this collaboration, Israel’s Ambassador to India Ron Malka and NITI Aayog CEO Amitabh Kant on Wednesday visited the special site created for this purpose at the Dr Ram Manohar Lohia (RML) Hospital in Delhi to see how the trials are proceeding.

The statement quoted Amitabh Kant as saying that he was pleased as well as proud of the advances that the joint efforts of Indian and Israeli scientists have made with regard to research and development on COVID-19. He added that if the results come out as expected, the development would be path breaking for the entire world. He further stated that he saw immense potential for a continued scientific and technological cooperation and assured that India would provide the required personnel, resources as well as expertise for this and the future missions.

The statement also quoted Israeli Ambassador to India Ron Malka as saying that they had received offers for similar collaborations from other countries as well, but they chose to partner with India due to the “excellent” relations the two countries enjoy. He added that in the past also, India and Israel have successfully worked together. He stated that once the research and development phase of the collaboration reaches an end, Israel is also looking to partner with India to manufacture these tests since India has a good industrial infrastructure to support large-scale manufacturing.

According to the statement, the joint trials had started on July 28. Being guided by an Israeli delegation, the trials are underway at six locations in Delhi, including the RML Hospital, Sir Ganga Ram Hospital, Lok Nayan Hospital, DRDO office in Rohini, Lady Hardinge Hospital and Akash Hospital. The samples that are collected in Delhi would be corroborated with the samples that had been collected in Israel earlier and with the help of these, the two countries hope to develop and validate an algorithm of the AI technologies that are used in the tests. Technologies like this would not be limited to the coronavirus pandemic, the statement added, saying that they would have the potential to overcome any other biological threat or pandemic of a similar scale in the future.

The statement also quoted DDRD delegate from Israel Yaniv Meirman as saying that unlike the presently available tests for COVID-19, the rapid tests that India and Israel hope to devise would have the potential to allow economies to function at the full capacity, while international travel and day-to-day activities would also be possible. The researchers are hoping for a simple and affordable test that can be taken by a person at their home to check whether he would be able to go out without the risk of transmission. Meirman said that this test would be a game changer when it comes to quick self-diagnosis of COVID-19.

The researchers are simultaneously working on development of four different technologies for the quick diagnosis, and even if one of them is successful, it would be a global breakthrough.

The first technology is a breath analyser, in which a person would need to blow through a tube. After this, a high frequency scan would analyse the humidity in the breath sample and detect whether the virus is present in it, all within less than a minute.

The second kind of test that researchers are working on is a thermal test that would use a saliva swab and it could have the potential to be purchased off the shelves and used at home, much like a home pregnancy test.

The third test that scientists are trying to develop would use polyamino acids to detect the proteins present in the virus within 45 seconds.

The last technology uses an audio test which can be downloaded and used like a mobile application. This would use the changes in the voice of a person to detect COVID-19 and other lung diseases.

The aim is to validate the technologies and made these tests widely available to the masses at a low rates and achieve an accuracy rate that is higher than the presently used RT PCR test.

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