Consul General of Israel to South India, Ms. Dana Kursh
Living here in namma Bengaluru, I’m admiring 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 & utilizing innovation. Here, we are still under lockdown, but back in my homeland, restrictions are starting ease, as Israel made a tough choice early on, and was one of the first countries to close its borders and go into full lockdown. These early measures have proven themselves with low infection rates, and even lower mortality rates, enabling the country to return slowly to full operation.
Looking beyond early stage prevention, especially when looking from the “Silicon Valley of India”, it is clear that innovation is the key. In Israel, just as in India, we are finding solutions for this new world we are facing. From respirators, start-ups and vaccines, through to drive-through testing centres and telemedicine, Israel is leading the global fight to prevent the spread of the virus. Startups have come up with solutions for hand sanitation, symptom detection, antimicrobial fabrics, and more. An innovative respirator developed by Israel’s Air Force has joined forces with Microsoft Israel, Magen David Adom (Israel’s national emergency response service), and others. This respirator has the potential for mass-production at a low cost and is ‘open source’, meaning that its design and assembly information is available to the public.
Israel’s hospitals are also on the front lines of combatting the virus, and have led the way by sharing their best practises with global partners. Just his week I participated in a webinar with Indian & Isreali hospital leaders, including our Bengalurean Rainbow Hospital, sharing experience and best practices. Sheba Hospital has implemented a first-of-its-kind telemedicine program to minimize contact between medical staff and coronavirus patients, treating not only inpatients, but also patients who are quarantined at home. A variety of advanced, specialized technologies are being employed as part of the hospital’s innovative response to minimize the risks of coronavirus. To this end, Israel Aerospace Industries teamed up with the Ministry of Defence and the Technion to develop a remote monitoring system that effectively minimizes contact between carers and patients. Using advanced optical sensor technology, radar and AI, this new system can record patients’ vital signs from afar, diminishing the risk of exposure for medical staff.
The Israel Institute for Biological Research announced (05/05/2020) a major breakthrough in finding an effective treatment for COVID-19. The Institute, run by the Defence Ministry, has successfully isolated a monoclonal antibody that effectively neutralises the virus using blood samples taken from coronavirus patients, making it the first lab in the world to have achieved this major milestone. The Institute is now seeking a biological manufacturer to mass produce the treatment for clinical use, while it continues to characterise this antibody and others.
With the world looking at the tech & biotech industries for solutions, one cannot ignore the importance of the Israel-India ongoing partnership. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, spoke with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and discussed technological cooperation as well as the various steps to deal with the spread of the coronavirus. The scope of medical cooperation and technical data analysis between India and Israel in the context of dealing with COVID-19 pandemic is wide. Just this week, Israel has suggested 50 topics in health and science where it can cooperate with India to work on solutions for COVID-19. The potential for partnership, on the federal, as well as state level, is immense, and our team in the Consulate General of Israel to South India, is looking forward to continue partnering with governments, Academia and the private sector, not only to heal our world from this pandemic, but also reviving the economy and livelihood of our nations.
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