Over 70 Israeli companies fight coronavirus; Philanthropic Israeli companies; Prayers against coronavirus; and much more!
by: Michael Ordman
ISRAEL’S MEDICAL ACHIEVEMENTS
Over 70 Israeli companies fight coronavirus
Israeli non-profit Startup Nation Central (SNC) has created a comprehensive directory of more than 70 relevant Israeli med-tech startups that are helping combat COVID-19. The areas are treatment, diagnostics, prevention, monitoring, and social.
Hebrew U and coronavirus
Anti-coronavirus research at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem includes: a genetic biobank to help prevent its spread, faster diagnostic kits, boosting the immune system, developing new proteins as a basis for a vaccine and treatments to block infection and reduce tissue damage.
Ben Gurion U and coronavirus
A summary of 15 of 50+ projects that Israel’s Ben Gurion University has launched to mitigate COVID-19 or its repercussions. Highlights are neutralizing antibodies, anti-viral air filters, emergency drones, automatic sanitizers and anti-viral microalgae. And 100+ students help at Soroka hospital.
Technion and coronavirus
Israel’s Technion Institute has 20 labs working on solutions for coronavirus. It has 4 diagnostic testing projects, 2 projects developing vaccines, 4 therapeutics projects and 7 projects developing aids for medical teams. Plus, numerous emergency projects. You can even join its voice study (click here)
Israeli startups in the age of coronavirus
Great Forbes article listing many Israeli companies working on coronavirus-related products and services. Not previously reported include SaNOtize (nasal spray), Pulm-One (lung function test), MagniLearn (distance learning) and Kemtai (virtual personal trainer that can see you)
More detail on Israeli coronavirus med-tech
This article focuses on six Israeli startups. RADLogics (diagnoses lung infection), Sight Diagnostics (blood test), Kamada (antibodies), Clew Medical (severity monitoring), EarlySense (home monitoring) and Geneyx Genomex (genetic resistance analysis).
Coronavirus vaccine from recovered patients
Israel’s Kamada is developing a treatment against the coronavirus derived from the blood-plasma of patients who have recovered from the disease and are in convalescence. Kamada says that the plasma is likely to contain antibodies that can be the basis for a vaccine.
Intelligent testing for pathogens
Diagnostics.ai is a British company, but almost its entire R&D is based in Israel. The company uses Artificial Intelligence to analyze COVID-19 (or any pathogen) test results automatically. It removes the need for specialists and ensures standardization, accuracy and quality-control.
A better mask
The Israeli ViriMASK Protective Oculo-Respirator shields the face and eyes from the coronavirus. It is strapped around the head, with a see-through visor and has a filtering mechanism for the nose and mouth. The device can be washed and reused and the replaceable filters last 12 hours. Available soon.
Israel’s Inovytec Medical Solutions (reported here previously) is mass-producing portable respiratory machines. It plans to deliver 1,000 of the machines to the Israeli Defense Ministry in May and has had additional orders from Europe.
Barcoding cancer treatments
As reported previously (Nov 2016) Israeli scientists developed nano-packages of anti-cancer treatments, barcoded to identify which is the most effective. Now, Israel’s Barcode Diagnostics sends different chemo in nanoparticles and reads barcodes on the dead tumors to see which one worked best.
US approval for hammertoe fixing system
Israel’s Ossio (reported here previously) has just received US FDA approval for its OSSIOfiber® Hammertoe Fixation system. The bio-integrative non-metal “intelligent” bone-regeneration implants come in 3 sizes, plus straight and angled configurations, for better customization.
ISRAEL IS INCLUSIVE AND GLOBAL
Philanthropic Israeli companies
Big-hearted Israeli companies include Israeli-founded Mobileye, which is donating NIS 10 million to cash-strapped non-profits. Mobileye’s parent, Intel, is donating $320,000 to Haifa’s Rambam Hospital to buy a hi-tech coronavirus testing system. And MyHeritage is donating 66,000 swabs.
How the elderly can help
Israel’s Esther Hershcovich has set up SAGE – a global English-language platform where skilled senior citizens give on-line classes in arts, business, education, health and more.to those in home-isolation. Teachers include an ex-Midwife, a psychologist, a Rabbi and a chiropractor. How about you?
The New York Times published a positive story around a photo of two Israeli Jewish and Arab paramedics praying together – one facing Jerusalem and the other facing Mecca. It goes on to say that this is common phenomena in Israel. WIN had a similar story if you don’t want to subscribe to the NYT.
Austria’s Chancellor grateful for PM’s advice
Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz said that Israeli PM Netanyahu shook him out of his complacency, urging him to “do something” to contain the coronavirus epidemic. It prompted him to make Austria one of the first European countries to take serious action.
Virtual coronavirus conference for global leaders
Jerusalem Venture Partners (JVP) hosted “Corona Wake Up Call”- a virtual conference. Its attendees included global government, economic and tech leaders, as well as Israeli and Italian hospital heads and experts. They shared best practices on combating the COVID-19 crisis.
SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY
Predicting the spread of coronavirus
Scientists from Israel’s Weizmann Institute and other organizations have developed a method for monitoring, identifying, and predicting the coronavirus’s spreading zones. It involves patients answering a one-minute questionnaire. 60,000 Israelis completed the form in just one week.
Hackathon to alleviate isolation
150 Israelis and Americans from Birthright, MIT and the IDF’s elite 8200 unit held a virtual hackathon called “HackCorona”. They designed video innovations, a digital services platform, an errand volunteering platform, distance learning and other virtual on-line facilities.
Transferring coronavirus test data
In just 48 hours, Israel’s Kryon (see here) built a Robotic Process Automation (RPA) solution to automate the twice-daily uploading of Israeli Ministry of Health’s COVID-19 test results onto Maccabi Healthcare Services’ system. Healthcare professionals can now focus on treatment.
The Real coronavirus
Sharon, of The Real Jerusalem Streets, recently attended a mHealth Israel Webinar where it was stressed that because of the “info-demic” about the coronavirus pandemic it is vital to use trusted sources for information. The webinar also highlighted the good preparations of Israel’s Sheba Medical Center.
Positive aspects of coronavirus
Not everything about the coronavirus is negative. Families spend more time together and some unhealthy vices are curtailed. The major benefit is advancing technology e.g. telemedicine, robotics and efficient financial technology. And Calcalist has published OptimisTech with more good news.
US-Israel water-energy initiative
The tech transfer arm of Israel’s Ben-Gurion University and Northwestern University are to jointly develop technologies to solve global water challenges. The $21.4 million initiative covers energy-efficient water supply, wastewater reuse and recovery, and energy-water systems.
The JNF have launched an on-line series of 4 Wednesday lectures “Your Drinking Water in the Time of Coronavirus: Lessons from Israel”. Episode 1 (see Youtube below) featured Seth M Siegel, author of “Let There Be Water”. You can join future lectures on Zoom.
ECONOMY & BUSINESS
Grants to startups combatting coronavirus
The Israeli government has promised financial support worth NIS 50 million to Israeli start-ups advancing solutions to combat the coronavirus pandemic. It said it will fund most of the development expenses for companies with exceptional impact breakthrough technologies.
Virtual business summit to fight coronavirus
Israel’s Catalyst Investments is hosting a virtual conference in early April to match investors with med-tech and biotech companies fighting the novel coronavirus. Managing Partner Edouard Cukierman believes that funding can help Israeli startups develop a breakthrough solution.
Chinese social media founded by Israelis
China’s Weibo has led a $3.5 million funding round in social media startup Y-Platform, founded by Israel’s Raz and Ami Gal Or. Y-Platform’s social media accounts depict the daily lives of foreigners in China. It has 70 million subscribers on Weibo, Bilbili, Tiktok, and WeChat.
Small Israeli startups can adapt
This article highlights that many Israeli startups will be nimble enough to survive the “black swan” coronavirus event. The 2008 financial crisis provides an historical precedent. They are boosting their on-line presence, preserving cash and increasing stocks held by foreign distributors.
Investment in Israeli startups continues
Venture Capital funds and large multinationals are still investing in Israeli startups. This week Pitango completed raising a $250 million growth fund; Pyramid Analytics raised $25 million; Quantum Machines $17.5 million; ePlane $9 million; Revuze $5.1 million etc. etc.
Israel’s largest port operating normally
Israel’s largest seaport, Ashdod, is fully operational, at a level similar to last year despite the global coronavirus outbreak. Some 97% of cargo to Israel, by weight, arrives by ship and the government has assured the country there will be no shortages of essential products.
Healthy Israeli microgreens
Microgreens are harvested 7 to 20 days after seedlings emerge
Young leafy sprouts pack far more flavor and disease-preventing nutrients per gram than adult plants. Israel’s 2BFresh produced 85 tons of microgreens in 2019 for the domestic and overseas markets. Great video.
H. pylori treatment now available
Following US FDA approval (see here) Israel’s Redhill has launched its Talicia treatment for H.pylori (Helicobacter) infections in the US. RedHill’s expanded sales force will promote Talicia to approximately 25,000 gastroenterologists, primary care physicians and other healthcare providers.
Wines from the Biblical heartland
The Israeli wine industry in the Judean Hills grows literally from strength to strength (see here for previous articles). For example, Gush Etzion winery produces 100,000 bottles a year and the Judean Hills Quartet is a group of 4 boutique wineries producing top quality, award-winning wines.
A billionaire entrepreneur in isolation
Israel’s Adam Neumann was ousted last year from the WeWork co-working multi-billion-dollar company he founded. In December he returned to Israel and is still here 3 months later. What is he doing? This interview with his Mum is a real “eye-opener”.
CULTURE, ENTERTAINMENT & SPORT`
Idan Raichel livestreams to 400,000
More than 400,000 people from around the world tuned in to watch renowned Israeli musician Idan Raichel’s livestreamed 22nd Mar concert from his Tel Aviv living room. He performed some of his most popular and uplifting songs, while sending a message of hope and togetherness.
The Jerusalem Street Orchestra goes virtual
The Jerusalem Street Orchestra serenades Israel and the world from their homes bringing joy, hope and comfort in the face of the coronavirus pandemic.
Things to do while stuck in quarantine
Israel21c has produced a summary of the opportunities that self-isolation provides for you to indulge in all those things you never have time for. VeryGoodNewsIsrael recommends the Virtual tour around Israel. And COVID-19 hasn’t stopped the Hula Valley bird migration.
Fun things for kids (and adults) in isolation
Ideas include (Israeli) board games, virtual art, yoga, cooking, virtual museum tours (e.g.Tel Aviv Museum of Art), weird science (e.g.Weizmann Institute’s Science at Home channel) and virtual theaters and (e.g.Israeli Opera) concerts.
THE JEWISH STATE
IFCJ donates $2 million to fight coronavirus in Israel
The International Fellowship of Christians and Jews (IFCJ) has approved $2 million in special grants to 15 Israeli hospitals for respiratory equipment and other lifesaving machinery. It has also purchased 20 special testing devices for Magen David Adom.
Good for the elderly in Modi’in
Barkai Center for Practical Rabbinics and Community Development has set-up a food-distribution system using WhatsApp groups, for homebound Israelis. Over 250 volunteers deliver cooked meals three times a week to vulnerable, elderly residents in each of Modi’in’s 13 neighborhoods.
President reads to children during lockdown
Israel’s President Reuven Rivlin went on-line to give parents a break. He said, “Read along with me, the whole family or just the children (and take the time for a coffee, without your phone).” He then read the children’s book “A Room for Rent,” by Leah Goldberg.
Israelis rescued from Peru
Itzik Garber piloted one of 4 El Al planes that flew 16 hours and over 12,000km to Peru to rescue 1,000 Israelis stranded by the coronavirus outbreak. After a 4-hour break on the ground, Captain Garber flew his Boeing 787 Dreamliner with hundreds of Israelis for another 15 hours back home to Israel.
Record-breaking flight to Australia
In a historic first, El Al flew a commercial flight directly from Israel to Australia to evacuate Israelis stranded due to the coronavirus pandemic. The 17-hour flight landed in Perth and took off several hours later. It carried 230 Israelis, including 80 who went to Perth from New Zealand.
More Israelis rescued
Israel showed again that it doesn’t abandon its citizens. El Al planes have brought back 40 from Ghana, 600 from Ukraine (on 4 flights), including 160 mostly Arab-Israeli students from Odessa. Other missions include from Italy, Ethiopia, Thailand and Croatia.
Can’t stop Aliya
Immigration to Israel continues despite the coronavirus pandemic. 961 immigrants have arrived in Israel since the beginning of March., They included 72 Ethiopian immigrants from the Falash Mura community. All new immigrants have to spend their first 2 weeks in self-isolation.
The Kinneret is almost full
Prayers for rain have worked. The Kinneret (Sea of Galilee) is at a 16-year high – just short of the upper red line. At that level, the Dganya Dam should be opened to prevent flooding. A little more rain is forecast, plus the melting snow from Mount Hermon should push it over the line.
Prayers against coronavirus
Jews globally prayed virtually on Zoom to end the spread of COVID-19. The gathering, led by Israel’s Chief Rabbis David Lau and Yitzchak Yosef, is believed to be the largest joint prayer ever held. Meanwhile Jewish, Moslem and Christian leaders came together to pray in Jerusalem.
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