India, Israel fighting virus better with tech, innovation  

Living here in namma Bengaluru, I admire the way India is combating the coronavirus epidemic.

Published: 15th May 2020 04:00 AM  |   Last Updated: 15th May 2020 01:02 PM   |  A+A-

Dana Kursh, Consul General of Israel to South India

Living here in namma Bengaluru, I admire the way India is combating the coronavirus epidemic. With the same admiration, I follow what is happening back home in Israel and how both our nations are showing resilience and innovation to fight the virus. Here, we are still under lockdown, but back in my homeland, restrictions are starting to ease, as Israel made the tough choice early on and was one of the first countries to go into a full lockdown. These measures have led to low infection rates and even lower mortality rates, enabling the country to return to full operation.

In Israel, just as in India, we are finding solutions for this new world. From respirators, start-ups and vaccines, to drive-through testing centres and telemedicine, Israel is leading the global fight against the virus. Startups have come up with solutions for hand sanitation, symptom detection, antimicrobial fabrics and more. An innovative respirator has been developed by Israel’s Air Force, joining forces with Microsoft Israel, Magen David Adom (Israel’s national emergency response service), and others. This respirator can be mass produced at a low cost and is ‘open source’, meaning its design and assembly information is available to the public.

Israel’s hospitals have led the way by sharing their best practises with global partners. Just this week, I participated in a webinar with leading Indian and Isreali hospitals, including Rainbow Hospital from Bengaluru, sharing experiences and best practices. Sheba Hospital in Israel has started a first-of-its-kind telemedicine programme to minimise contact between medical staff and coronavirus patients, treating not only inpatients, but also those quarantined at home. Israel aerospace industries have teamed up with the defence ministry to develop a remote monitoring system that effectively minimises contact between carers and patients. Using advanced optical sensor technology, radar and artificial intelligence, this new system can record patients’ vital signs from far, reducing the risk of exposure to medical staff.

The Israel Institute for Biological Research on May 5 announced a major breakthrough in finding a treatment for Covid. The Institute has isolated a monoclonal antibody that effectively neutralises the virus using blood samples taken from Covid patients, making it the first lab in the world to achieve the milestone. It is now seeking a biological manufacturer to mass produce the treatment. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu spoke with his Indian counterpart Narendra Modi and discussed cooperation to deal with the spread of the coronavirus. The scope for medical cooperation between India and Israel is wide. Just this week, Israel suggested 50 topics in health and science where it can cooperate with India on Covid solutions. 

Dana Kursh, Consul General of Israel to South India

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