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The Teva-Academia project supports researchers developing novel treatments for various illnesses, including the deadly coronavirus.

By United with Israel Staff

Israeli researcher Hila Flayev is working on computational models of the coronavirus structure and recently presented her findings at pharmaceutical giant Teva’s “National Forum for Bio-Innovators” on Wednesday.

Flayev, who works under the guidance of Tel Aviv University’s Dr. Yossi Tzfadia, said, “We have been studying the interaction between other coronaviruses and human cells for years. We want to apply the methods we have developed in the new virus study as well,” according to The Jerusalem Post. 

The coronavirus is part of a group of respiratory infections that manifests like pneumonia. To date, over 170 people have died of the infection in China.

The disease has spread to more than 15 countries since December, infecting nearly 6,000, i24 news reported.

The first-of-its-kind Teva forum gathered 28 doctoral and postdoctoral students from Tel Aviv University, the Technion-Israel Institute of Technology and Hebrew University. The scientists were tasked with performing groundbreaking research on cancer, ALS, Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, epilepsy and other diseases.

Teva provided the group with funding, mentoring and expert advice.

The program is part of the “Teva-Academia” project that encourages researchers from leading Israeli academic institutions to collaborate in order to find treatments for illnesses.

“We still face many challenges in developing innovative drugs that can improve patient health and one way to optimize and maximize this process is to improve the ability to translate academic innovation into the pharmaceutical industry,” Dr. Dana Bar-On, Director of Academic Relations in Teva’s Global R&D Deptartment and leader of the project, said at the forum, according to the Post.

Though Israel has no confirmed cases of coronavirus, three people were quarantined upon their return to the country from China on Wednesday.

On Thursday, Israel’s Ministry of Health shut down all Israeli flights to and from China until March 25.