Israel-India friendship grows with flight of virus-fighting supplies

With over half a million people ill with the disease in India, Israel will be able to test the effectiveness of several rapid-diagnostic solutions. 

By Batya Jerenberg, World Israel News

An Israeli delegation landed Monday in India with four experimental tests for diagnosing Covid-19 and a load of virus-fighting supplies.

Included are four different kinds of experimental technologies for rapidly diagnosing Covid-19. India, due to its vast pool of confirmed coronavirus cases, is an excellent testing ground to prove the effectiveness of the new technologies.

Other equipment brought on the special Israir flight includes advanced ventilators, which required special authorization to leave the country as they are a much sought-after and relatively rare item needed to save the lives of the most seriously ill patients.

Israel also sent cartons of sanitizing, disinfectant and protective equipment for medical personnel.

“There are many areas in which India and Israel are cooperating, and today also in the health field,” said Gilad Cohen, deputy director of the Asia and Pacific desk of the Foreign Ministry, in a Channel 20 report.

“India extended their hand to help us at the beginning of the first wave [of Corona] and today we’re happy that we can also bring help from the State of Israel to our great friend in the East.”

In April, Prime Minister Narendra Modi rushed five tons of medicines and their ingredients as well as other pharmaceutical supplies to Israel after Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu requested his counterpart’s help in fighting the pandemic.

Many of the boxes were marked with large stickers that had pictures of the Israeli and Indian flags and the words, “From the people of Israel to the people of India” and “#Growing Partnership.”

The 20-person delegation is being led by the Directorate of Defense Research and Development (DDR&D), in the Israel Ministry of Defense, along with Foreign Ministry personnel and health experts.

There are some 500,000 active patients in India as of Tuesday, and 33,425 have so far died of the disease.

“These are not experiments on patients. We are just testing using samples from patients. They are completely safe and are not invasive, and will follow international standards and practices,” Israeli ambassador to India Dr. Ron Malka told Indian newspaper The Hindu on Monday of the experimental diagnostic tests.

All the technologies showed promising results in Israel, he added.

“If even one of the tests proves to be effective in testing for coronavirus in 30-40 seconds, this could be a game changer for the whole world and how we behave, at least until we have a vaccine,” Malka said. “Imagine how much easier it will be to operate flights, schedule conferences and meetings, if we can test so easily and quickly.”

Currently, people need to wait a day or more in order to get results.

The team will stay for 10 days and work with their hosts in several testing zones.