Antibodies to attack coronavirus; Ramadan in Israel; Schools, markets & malls re-open; and much more!
by: Michael Ordman
ISRAEL’S MEDICAL ACHIEVEMENTS
Antibodies to attack coronavirus
The Israel Institute for Biological Research in Ness Ziona has developed four antibodies that attack the coronavirus and neutralize it in the body of an infected person. It is described as Israel’s “Manhattan Project” to defeat the Covid-19 pandemic. Trials and production planning have begun.
Major discovery about Israeli HIV treatment
The Israeli-developed Gammora HIV treatment is being used to treat HIV patients at the Cliniquie La Source hospital in the Congo. Those also with coronavirus significantly improved from both infections. A subsequent WHO-supervised study has confirmed the findings.
Plasma antibody injections to be scaled up
As reported here previously, seriously ill coronavirus patients have benefited from blood plasma containing antibodies from patients who themselves have recovered from the virus. Now the MDA blood service has enough plasma to produce multiple concentrated antibody injections.
Latest – up to 100,000 Israelis are to be imminently tested to check if they have the antibodies.
Micro-needles can deliver Corona vaccines more effectively
Over 4 years ago (see here), Israel’s NanoPass developed a microneedle system to deliver vaccines to cancer immunotherapy patients. Now the system is ready to deliver a future coronavirus vaccine. Its advantage is that less vaccine is required than using a regular needle.
Antiviral treatment starts Phase II trial
Israeli-founded SaNOtize, has been granted approval by Health Canada to conduct a Phase II trial for its antiviral early treatment against COVID-19. The Nitric Oxide Releasing Solution (NORS) was effective in the lab against influenza A, hCoV-OC43 and H1N1 (swine flu).
Helmsley Trust’s $11 million to Israeli hospitals
The Helmsley Charitable Trust has awarded $11 million of coronavirus grants to Israeli hospitals. It includes $5 million to eight Clalit Health Services hospitals. Another million dollars went to each of the hospitals of Poriya, Hadassah, Rambam, Shaare Zedek, Sheba and Sourasky.
Medical clowns tackle coronavirus
Israel’s 600 medical clowns have been lifting the spirits of the elderly, medical staff and their children. Keeping 2 meters apart, they now use dramatic hand and body movements to communicate and decorate their face masks with stickers of crazy smiles, a mustache and silly expressions.
Assuta hospital in Ashdod has closed its coronavirus ward, because all its patients have recovered. So did Jerusalem’s Shaare Zedek hospital, to the delight of its medical staff. Finally, Magen David Adom’s 24/7 coronavirus hotline has closed, transferring all calls to Israel’s healthcare companies.
Antibiotic injection fights superbugs
Researchers at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem have developed an intravenous injection to fight hospital superbugs (bacteria resistant to most current antibiotics). They used nanotechnology to develop an injected form of mupirocin – which previously was just an antibiotic ointment.
DIY glucose monitoring
Israel’s DarioHealth has just received US FDA approval for the use by patients of their Dario self-test glucose monitors in hospitals. The aim is to reduce exposure of healthcare workers to coronavirus infected patients.
Test shows if hope for comatose patients
Israeli researchers have devised a sniff-test using shampoo and rotten fish, to determine if brain-injured patients have a chance of recovery. If the patient showed a predictable response, that person had a 100% chance of recovering consciousness and a 92% chance of surviving 3+ years.
ISRAEL IS INCLUSIVE AND GLOBAL
From soccer to seniors
As soccer matches have been suspended, the players, managers and fans of Beitar Millennium Jerusalem Football Club are teaching digital skills to isolated seniors. It is one of the “Sympathy for Older Persons” projects of the National Digital Israel Initiative of the Ministry of Social Equality.
Ramadan in Israel
In the Jewish State, Muslims celebrate Ramadan freely. The initiative “Ramadan Nights from Jerusalem.” includes virtual events in Arabic, Hebrew and English. There is a Holy City virtual tour on the Tower of David Museum website and virtual lectures at Israel’s National Library and Museum of Islamic Art.
Israel to give $60 million to fight coronavirus
The EU hosted a conference of national leaders including Israel, the UK, Japan, France, Germany, Canada, Jordan, Turkey, Saudi Arabia and the UN. Their aim is to fight the coronavirus outbreak. Israeli PM Netanyahu made a speech, pledging $60 million to the initiative.
Israelis raise money for US medical workers
An Israeli-American Council’s (IAC) virtual concert raised $325,000 for protective equipment (PPE) and food for health-care workers on the frontlines of the US COVID-19 pandemic. The event featured Israelis Idan Raichel, David Broza, Rotem Cohen, Shlomi Shabat, and others.
Food and PPE for Ecuador
The Israeli Government has donated food for 1,000 families in Ecuador and personal protective equipment (PPE) for medical personnel faced with the health emergency of COVID-19 in public hospitals.
Aid for every continent
Israeli humanitarian aid nonprofits SmartAID and IsraAID work with local partners to supply Personal Protection Equipment (PPE) to health centers in Puerto Rico and Haiti and to five hospitals in Sydney, Australia. They also sent aid to Iraq, Vanuatu, Guatemala, Mozambique, Germany and the Bahamas.
Helping pilots escape coronavirus
The Israeli Air Force (IAF) hosted a virtual forum for global air force commanders, on how to navigate the COVID-19 pandemic. Attendees came from Italy, the United States, Belgium, the UK, Germany, Denmark, the Netherlands, Greece, Norway, Spain, France, Cyprus and Croatia.
Global media goes into reverse
Israel’s Department of Public Diplomacy reports that coverage of Israel in the global media has recently undergone a transformation. Israel’s efforts to control coronavirus were initially criticized. Now, its virus control success, rescue of citizens and interfaith cooperation are being highly praised.
Major honor for Israeli professor
University of Haifa linguistics Professor Wendy Sandler has become just the fifth Israeli woman to be accepted as a member of the prestigious American Academy of Arts and Sciences. She is the first Israeli in the humanities field to be inducted into the Academy since its founding in 1780.
SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY
Jerusalem bio-techs tackle coronavirus
JLM-BioCity organized a Zoom session to share startup coronavirus technologies with global investors. New to this newsletter are Respinova (COPD device) EDAS Healthcare (remote diagnosis), One Cell Medical (antibodies), BioFence (anti-viral coating) and Academix.
A coronavirus mask for the hearing impaired
Carolina Tannenbaum-Baruchi of Ben Gurion University, whose parents are both deaf, teamed up with a high school robotics team from Dimona to develop the “Read My Lips” mask. Its clear “no vapors” plastic front does not fog up, allowing others to read the wearer’s lips.
Wake-up and smell the virus
Israel’s Nanoscent has developed a chip, software and sensors that recognize odor and unique disease patterns. It has started a trial at Israel’s Sheba hospital to identify people infected with the coronavirus via a simple 30-second nasal breath test. It could be used at stores, hospitals, and airports.
Sterilization kits for hospitals
Israel’s Strauss Water, a subsidiary of Strauss Group, has developed a sterilization and disinfection device for personal equipment. The kit removes coronavirus from stethoscopes, keys, etc. – even cell phones. Strauss has donated 40 kits to Israeli hospitals and has pledged 60 more.
VR rehabilitates patients
The Virtual Reality therapy from Israel’s XRHealth is already used at Israel’s Sheba Medical Center to rehabilitate patients, including those recovered from Covid-19. XRHealth has just received a $450,000 grant from the Israeli Innovation Authority to extend its VR technology to other Israeli hospitals.
New fintech cybersecurity laboratory
Multinationals Mastercard and Enel X are to establish a new financial technology cybersecurity lab in Be’er Sheva. The lab joins six existing innovation labs and two cybersecurity labs in the final process of being established in Be’er Sheva, specializing in energy and smart transportation.
Ecological friendly companies
Israel21c recently featured 9 Israeli companies that focused on sustainability. Those not previously reported here include IMYIM (eco-fashion), Havie (recycled army clothing) and SG Tech (energy from farm waste).
More details on the revolutionary Beehome hive from Israel’s Beewise (reported here previously) that protects bee populations from colony collapse.
ECONOMY & BUSINESS
Group of seven
Israel is in a select club with Australia, Austria, Czech Republic, Denmark, Greece and New Zealand. In all 7 countries the numbers of new coronavirus infections have slowed substantially. Consequently, the Austrian Chancellor suggested establishing trade and tourism links between these nations.
Israel raises $5 billion in Asian markets
Israel’s first-ever public issue bond on Asian markets raised $5 billion. The issue saw high demand from some 300 high-quality investors from over 30 countries. Israel’s Accountant General said it testified to the confidence in Israel’s economy and its response to the corona crisis.
Currency reserves at new record high
Following successful international borrowing, Israel’s reserves of foreign currency increased by nearly $7.6 billion in April to end the month at a new record of $133.5 billion.
Schools, markets & malls re-open
Throughout Israel, students in grades 1 to 3, plus grades 11 and 12 have returned to classes. Shopping malls and Jerusalem’s famous open-air Mahane Yehuda shuk (market) have reopened after two months, signaling a major step in Israel’s gradual return (with precautions) to normal.
Latest update on anti-viral masks
Israel’s Sonovia began producing its anti-pathogen fabric face masks in March (reported here previously). It has now sold 30,000 of the masks, mainly in the United States. The impregnated zinc and copper oxide fabric, blocks viruses and protects even after high temperature washing.
Make people better
Israeli innovation hub Welltech1 is calling for Wellness startups that make people happier and heathier to compete for an investment of up to $200,000. Wellness is defined as self-care as opposed to healthcare. The hub partners the Global Wellness Institute that aims to eradicate preventable, chronic diseases.
Intel moves in on Moovit
Intel has acquired Israel’s smart-transit startup Moovit for some $900 million to join up with Mobileye (acquired Apr 2017). Moovit (reported here previously) provides free real-time crowdsourced information about public transportation schedules. It is used by 800 million riders across 102 countries.
Unemployed Israelis volunteer on farms
Thousands of temporarily unemployed Israelis are volunteering on Israeli farms. Farmers have incurred severe labor shortages due to coronavirus restrictions on foreign workers entering Israel. Israelis use an app called SunDo from non-profit HaShomer HaChadash to find work.
Nomogoo buys Personali
Two Israeli startups have got together. Namogoo blocks unauthorized ads and distracting content that may disrupt customer experience and engagement, specifically content meant to hijack customers. It has taken over Personali, which develops AI-based tools for personalizing user incentives.
Drone delivery to North Dakota
Israeli founded Flytrex, (as reported here previously) delivers food and consumer goods by drones to Iceland and North Carolina. Flytrex has now launched a delivery service to “shelter-in-place” shoppers in Grand Forks, North Dakota.
Tech startups pitch virtually to Arizona
Eight Israeli startups will be virtually attending the UNMET conference in Arizona in May. Their products range from chainless hydraulic bikes to smart-air quality platforms. The founders will pitch to more than 150 global institutions and VC investors.
Covid-19 startups pitch to California
Nine Israeli Covid-19 startups presented to the North California Israel Chamber of Commerce last week. They included Resmetrix, EchoCare (seniors monitor), CardiaCare, Serreno, Expain (cancer data), Grin (remote orthodontics), Sanolla, Gynisus (AI diagnosys) and Habitu.
Japan focuses on Israeli investment
Japan’s Sumitomo Corp has launched a $100 million Israel focused fund – IN Venture, to invest in smart cities, digitization, health care, cyber, IT, energy, and mobilization. Sumitomo Exec VP Toshikazu Nambu said of Israel, “Your way of life forces you to find solutions and that impressed us.”
More funds for Israeli startups
This week, Otonomo raised $46 million; GigaSpaces raised $12 million, Pluristem is raising $15 million, Orca Security raised $20 million, Hargol raised $3 million, Hub Security raised $5 million and Ermetic raised $10 million.
CULTURE, ENTERTAINMENT & SPORT`
Movie awards for Asia
The Israeli movie “Asia” won three awards at the Tribeca Film Festival. Shira Haas won Best Actress in the International category. Director Ruthy Pribar won the Nora Ephron Award for excellence in storytelling by a female director. “Asia” also won Best (International) Cinematography.
We can fix you
Israeli NGO Koolulam organized over 5,000 People from 66 countries to record themselves singing “Fix You” by UK band Coldplay in 3-part harmony. The end-result was amazing and brings universal hope during the coronavirus pandemic.
A Virtual Benefit, “Saving Lives Sunday” on May 3rd has raised $1 million for Israel’s United Hatzalah (UH) in its work saving COVID-19 patients. UH has released a stunning version of Leonard Cohen’s iconic song “Hallelujah.” The song is performed in English, Hebrew and Arabic – a poignant symbol of unity.
(video of the event – well worth watching)
https://www.savinglivessunday.com/ (more details and where to donate)
Dolphins and sharks visit Israel
This video shows bottlenose dolphins, an endangered species, off the coast of Ashkelon. Plus, dozens of sandbar sharks off the nearby coast of Ashdod. Finally, a rare whale shark swam up the Gulf of Eilat – the same spot where 4 whale sharks were sighted last August (reported here previously).
THE JEWISH STATE
Returning lost property
An orthodox Jew from Jerusalem found a wallet with over 40,000 shekels ($11,000). He wouldn’t rest until he found the owner – a Palestinian Arab from Bethlehem – and returned the money to him.
Kotel opens for prayers
The Western Wall (Kotel) Plaza in Jerusalem has re-opened to worshippers living outside the Old City. Up to 300 worshippers are allowed to pray in the Plaza simultaneously All must wear masks and stay in marked areas to maintain social distances.
Sudanese refugee’s journey to Judaism
Micha’el Derek Tanju was born in Darfur. At the age of 3 his parents were murdered by terrorists. He escaped to Israel in 2008. After graduating and National Service, he converted to Judaism and is currently studying computer science at the Jerusalem College of Technology.
Surge in Aliya
Aliya organization Nefesh b’Nefesh received 455 Aliya applications from the US in April. Another 642 have downloaded and are working on their applications. Both numbers are 50% higher than in April 2019. Meanwhile, 18 American new Olim have just arrived in Israel, on a NbN group flight.
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