Israel and India are conducting trials at Delhi-based Dr Ram Manohar Lohia (RML) Hospital on a large sample of patients for four different technologies that have the potential to detect Covid-19 in about 30 seconds, including a breath analyzer and a voice test, according to an Israeli statement.
These trials are a part of a multi-pronged mission visiting India from Israel to cooperate on Covid-19 research and development, further cementing the strategic relationship between the two nations. On April 7, India had sent medical equipment and five tons of medicines, including hydroxychloroquine, which was earlier reported as a game changer in the fight against coronavirus. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu had reached out to Prime Minister, Narendra Modi, with a special request for the supplies.
On 24 July, arriving on a special plane from Tel Aviv, the Israeli delegation also brought effective treatment and monitoring equipment that reduces healthcare workers’ exposure to the virus. According to reports, 83 advanced respirators that are still banned for export in Israel have been brought to India with a special waiver.
According to the Israeli release, Israeli Ambassador to India Ron Malka on 31 July visited the special testing site created at the Dr Ram Manohar Lohia (RML) Hospital to witness the ongoing trials being conducted for the last three days for rapid Covid-19 testing. Malka was accompanied by Professor K VijayRaghavan, who is the principal scientific advisor to the prime minister.
The rapid testing is being jointly developed in cooperation with the Defense Research and Development Directorate of the Israeli Ministry of Defence, India’s Defence Research and Development Organization, Council of Scientific and Industrial Research and Principal Scientific Advisor, India — coordinated by the ministries of foreign affairs of Israel and India.
According to reports, RML hospital is one of the testing sites that has started trials of four different kinds of technologies that have the potential to detect coronavirus in as less as 30 seconds.
“These simple, non-invasive technologies include a voice test that uses artificial intelligence to identify changes in the patient’s voice and a breath analyzer test that requires the patient to blow into a tube. It detects the virus using terra-hertz waves,” the statement said.
There is also isothermal testing that enables identification of the coronavirus in a saliva sample and a test using polyamino acids that seeks to isolate proteins related to Covid-19, the statement said.
“These trials are being conducted on a large sample of patients in India. If the results validate the effectiveness of the tests, they would be mass manufactured in India and marketed to the world by Israel and India jointly,” it said.
Speaking during his visit to the testing site, Malka said, “If even one of these tests is successful in detecting the virus in as less as half a minute, it will be the biggest breakthrough in Covid-19 identification that the world has been waiting for. By combining advanced Israeli and Indian technology and India’s manufacturing prowess, we can find a way to resume our lives and exist alongside the virus until a vaccine is developed,” he added.
Raghavan said, “What was yesterday considered esoteric research is now being tested for implementation. Such robust tests are the touchstone of science. I am sure that some of these will be successful and result in great value to our countries and humanity.”