Israeli, Chinese firms collaborate to build emergency testing center

Israeli DNA testing company MyHeritage announced plans to work with China-based BGI on a new testing facility capable of performing 10,000 coronavirus tests a day.

By World Israel News Staff

On Friday, Israel’s MyHeritage released plans to build an emergency coronavirus testing center as part of a collaboration with BGI, a major Chinese player in the genomics space.

The lab will reportedly be able to carry out more than 10,000 tests a day and is slated to open by April 9, The Jerusalem Post reported.

The lab will reportedly follow the same model used by two previous BGI-built labs in Wuhan, the virus’ epicenter, and Shenzen. The labs were set up in just five days, the Post reported.

“BGI will ship to Israel in the coming days an aerial train of equipment, including dozens of advanced qPCR corona testing machines – the type of equipment used to detect RNA viruses, which allows the detection of even minimal amounts of the virus. The equipment also includes RNA extraction robots and large quantities of relevant equipment,” said MyHeritage CEO Gilad Japhet told the Post report.

The announcement arrived on the heels of a statement by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Fridayfollowing a series of discussions on Israeli’s procurement and acquisition strategy during the crisis, in addition to and preparations ahead of a lockdown.

MyHeritage is primarily known as an online genealogy platform on which users family trees and upload photos. The company says it hosts over 9 billion historical records and was the target of a security breach exposed in June 2018 in which the data of over 92 million users was leaked.