This Week’s Sanity Report from Israel March 1, 2020
The coronavirus is currently one of the top “bad news” stories, but Israel is busy countering it – there are seven relevant articles in this week’s positive Israel newsletter. Other news includes several breakthroughs in tackling cancer and bacteria resistant to antibiotics. There is a new emergency system for the State of Georgia; burns treatment training for medics in Haiti; technology to address world hunger, drought and cyberbullying and a device to prevent accidental drowning. Israeli medical apps and device companies are going global. Meanwhile, Israel’s relations with the Arab world continue to improve.
The photo is of one of the departments of Israel’s Sheba Medical Center, which is combating the coronavirus and developing many other innovative medical solutions.
The highlights include:
- Israeli treatment can save the lives of sick coronavirus patients.
- Israeli scientists use bacteria to attract cancer-killing T-cells.
- The Israeli government gives grants to Negev Bedouin entrepreneurs.
- Israeli medical staff has taught Haiti medics to use lasers to alleviate burn victims.
- An Israeli father invented a swimsuit that protects the wearer from drowning.
- Former US Peace Envoy is now a partner to an Israeli investment organization.
- Israel’s cycling team competes in the United Arab Emirates.
- A top Israeli-Arab Muslim female singer has converted to Judaism.
ISRAEL’S MEDICAL ACHIEVEMENTS
Breakthrough in fighting resistant bacteria and cancer. Researchers at Israel’s Ben Gurion University have used Nuclear Magnetic Resonance (NMR) and AI to design new antibiotics and treatments for RNA viruses responsible for diseases such as hepatitis, HIV and many cancers.
Treatment for severe victims of coronavirus. As reported previously, (see here) the Allocetra treatment from Israel’s Enlivex cures patients suffering severe sepsis. Allocetra is now being offered to governments for the thousands of coronavirus patients suffering sepsis-induced organ failure due to overactive immune responses.
Faster diagnosis of coronavirus. New technology developed by researchers at Israel’s Bar-Ilan University reduces the time taken to test viruses from an hour down to 15 minutes. The enhanced test is already used in Sheba Medical Center for other viruses and is now undergoing testing for the COVID-19 coronavirus.
Israeli support for coronavirus patients. Israeli innovation organization INNONATION recruited 100 Israeli volunteer doctors to provide medical videos to people in quarantine for Coronavirus in China and globally. It has also raised funds to send 150,000 pieces of medical equipment to China. Please see the inspiring video.
Monitoring suspected coronavirus patients. 12 Israelis exposed to the deadly coronavirus (COVID-19) on the cruise liner in Japan have been quarantined at Israel’s Sheba Medical Center. Each patient uses a TytoCare, device (see here) for doctors to remotely check pulse, temperature, throat, lungs, ears, heart, abdomen and skin.
Working on a coronavirus vaccine. The MIGAL Galilee Research Institute has made several scientific breakthroughs (see here) but the latest may be a treatment for the coronavirus (COVID-19). They are adapting their effective vaccine against avian Coronavirus Infectious Bronchitis Virus (IBV). Approval target is 90 days.
Let me see inside your shoulder. The innovative AI-based / CT technology from Israel’s RSIP Vision (reported here previously) can now assist with shoulder surgery – one of the most complex procedures with a long recovery time. The system provides a precise 3D anatomical model of the shoulder for better diagnosis.
Now we’re smiling. Israel’s Mavrik Dental develops dental devices that help automate dental treatments. Its Thera-Smile teeth-whitening system has been cleared by the US FDA. Mavrik has just raised $30 million to fund opening commercial operations in the U.S. while retaining its product development center in Israel.
Israeli startups save lives. The 2020 OurCrowd Global Investor Summit attracted a record 23,000 delegates from 186 countries. They heard about three Israeli medical startups – Insightec, AlphaTAU and Surgical Theater and three of the patients whose lives they had saved with their groundbreaking technology.
3D-printing in the hospital. Israel’s Sheba Medical Center is using 3D printing alongside MRI and VR/AR as a precision tool to save lives and greatly improve surgical outcomes such as in knee replacements, heart bridges and facial reconstruction. Printing replicas of organs and bones also helps train new surgeons.
Targeting solid tumors. Israel’s KAHR Medical (reported here previously) has just raised $18 million to advance its DSP107 treatment to combat solid tumors. DSP107 works by targeting CD47, a protein that is overexpressed by cancer cells. DSP107 prevents CD47 from suppressing the immune system.
Using bacteria to fight cancer. Israel’s NeoTX uses Selective T cell Redirection (STR) technology to enlist a powerful immune response against tumors. Mutated bacteria are fused with monoclonal antibodies which target the tumor’s 5T4 antigen, alerting T-cells to kill the tumor. NeoTX has just raised $45 million of funds.
ISRAEL IS INCLUSIVE AND GLOBAL
“Specially” made soaps. Avda Natural is a workshop in the Samarian village of Kochav Hashachar for young Israelis with special needs. They make fragrant soaps and natural cosmetics from plants, essential oils, and local minerals. It was founded by Shlomo Keshet as an activity for his son Elnatan, who has Down Syndrome.
Accelerating Negev Bedouins. Startup Negev, a new tech accelerator catering to Israel’s Bedouin minority, has launched its first cohort of 25 entrepreneurs. Each participating project will receive a grant of between NIS 30,000 and NIS 50,000. It is supported by Israel’s Ministry of Agriculture, Sapir College and Israel Chemicals.
Helping PA Arabs find good jobs. (TY I24) Four former officers in the IDF Civil Administration are enabling Palestinian Arabs to find well-paid jobs with Israeli companies. Instead of Arabs paying up to 20% of their salary to illegal PA middlemen for Israeli permits, the Arabs are connected directly with Israeli employers.
On-line learning for locked-down Chinese kids. (TY Hazel) Israel’s Education Cities is linking Israeli kids to pupils in China where schools are closed due to the coronavirus. The children speak to each other, share experiences and commentary on music and popular culture, and take part in group lessons.
Israeli plane flies over Sudan. At the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations, Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu reported the first flight of an Israeli plane in Sudanese airspace. He also said “There is scarcely one Muslim or Arab country around the world we don’t have deepening ties with”
Israeli tech at AIPAC. Three of the Israeli innovations to be presented on the mainstage at the AIPAC conference are UPnRIDE’s electric standing wheelchair for quadriplegics, DouxMatok’s sweeteners and Surgical Theater’s VR technology. Another four startups will be on display in the OurCrowd booth.
911 platform goes live in Georgia. Fayette County’s 911 Communications Center has launched Carbyne’s c-Live platform which allows telecommunicators to have access to Instant Chat, Live Video, AML, as well as Carbyne’s telephony infrastructure powered by Cisco. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o3QQWQyoakU
International dog adoption. Tzaar Baalei Chaim is Jerusalem’s Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. It looks after stray dogs for as long as it takes to find them new homes. Now it finds new owners in the USA and Canada and raises funds for the air fare for the dog and a handler.
Treating burns victims in Haiti. A team of burns and plastic surgery specialists from Israel’s Sheba Medical Center trained surgeons, nurses, and therapists from six hospitals in Haiti. They showed them how to operate Haiti’s first medical laser to reduce and alleviate disfiguring, painful and motion-restricting scarring.
Teaching Krav Maga in Brazil. (TY I24 News) Cooperation between Israel and Brazil encompasses almost every area of trade, technology, security and more. Krav Maga martial arts expert Kobi Lichtenstein has been training the Brazilian Police force since prior to the 2016 Olympics and those skills have saved lives.
SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY
The past, present and future of Israeli tech. The annual IVC Israeli Tech Review has just been published. It includes a summary of the Israeli hi-tech ecosystem over the past decade. It also predicts the success of Israeli innovation based on scientific breakthroughs. https://trailer.web-view.net/Show/0X1CF47387CF4B66EF3AA18563DF2D59C457FBE862071E07AF6D57610EB4FFBC36BF2B8A52F813D52F.htm
Iron Dome is upgraded. Ten years after the first version, Rafael Advanced Defense Systems completed trials of an advanced version of the Iron Dome air-defense system. It was said to “simulate future threats” and was 100% successful.
A life-form that doesn’t need oxygen. Scientists at Tel Aviv University have discovered the first animal on earth that appears to survive without the use of oxygen. The parasite, Henneguya salminicola, lives in muscle cells of fish, an anaerobic (oxygen-free) environment. It has no mitochondria to convert oxygen into energy.
Algae superfood. Israeli startup Simpliigood develops technology for the large-scale production of edible products from the algae spirulina. Fresh spirulina is a superfood (see previous reports) containing 74% protein.
Keeping calves with their mothers. Normal milk industry practice is to remove calves from their mothers almost immediately after birth. Israeli kibbutz Yotvata has begun a pilot project where female calves remain with their mother until they are weaned. It improves the strength of the calf and reduces distress to the mother.
How to breed healthy fish. Israeli scientists at Ben Gurion University, Hebrew University and the Agricultural Research Organization have discovered how a fish’s core microbiome operates. The group had a European Research Council starting grant and has now received an ERC Consolidator Grant to continue the research.
A swimsuit to prevent drowning. Israeli Eyal Hirak designed the FuGuSense swimsuit after his daughter nearly drowned. The swimsuit contains sensors to monitor vital signs. If drowning is detected, an integrated, reusable airbag is inflated to bring the swimmer to the surface.
Another water from the air system. Researchers at Israel’s Technion Institute have developed “H-to-all” – a system for producing water from air, even in arid desert regions. It uses a desiccant (material to remove moisture from the air). The moisture is then converted to water using heat (solar energy) and low pressure.
Glue gun inventor is a “Forbes 30 under 30”. Technion PhD student Alona Shagan has been selected as one of “Forbes Under 30 World” – Forbes Magazine’s list of Israel’s 30 youngest and most promising people. Alona co-developed the hot-glue gun (reported here previously) used to fuse torn human tissues together.
Countering cyberbullying. Israeli startup L1ght develops technology to combat the online bullying of kids. It analyzes texts, videos, and soundbites to recognize hate speech, cyberbullying, and online threats. L1ght has just raised $15 million of seed funding to expand its research and development team.
How to join the Israeli tech scene. Israel Tech Challenge (reported here previously) trains top candidates for leading positions in the Israeli hi-tech sector. ITC is an Israeli coding school that trains the global talent for six months to become high-ranking data scientists, cyber-professionals, developers and data engineers.
ECONOMY & BUSINESS
Marketing Israeli startups to German Industry. Start-Up Nation Central and the Bavarian ministry have signed an agreement to introduce Israeli startups to German manufacturers based in Bavaria, including Siemens, BMW, and Audi. It is in addition to the Bavaria Israel Partnership Accelerator program founded in 2015.
More multinationals in Tel Aviv. Over the past year, multinationals have opened 16 new development centers in Tel Aviv in order to employ Israeli talent. Of the 107 multinationals, the new additions include Russia’s Yandex, SafeCharge (part of Canada’s Nuvei Corp) and Ford Motor Company. Tel Aviv has 2,000 startups.
Seagate to open Israeli innovation center. US storage giant Seagate is opening a Tel Aviv innovation center, Lyve Labs Israel, with the intention of working with Israeli companies. Seagate has been active in Israel for over a decade and has invested around $90 million in Israeli companies.
From US peace envoy to OurCrowd partner. Jason Greenblatt, former Assistant to the President of the United States, and Special Representative for International Negotiations, will join Israeli Crowdfunding investing platform OurCrowd as a partner with responsibility for building ties with the Middle East region.
K Health is going global. When originally reported here, the Israeli medical diagnosis app K-Health was available only in Israel and only in Hebrew. It now has 3 million active users in 47 U.S. States. K-Health has just raised $48 million for expanding to South America and Asia Pacific, plus the coverage of more illnesses.
Chip design startup exits. Israeli semiconductor startup Terrain EDA has been acquired by Nasdaq-listed Synopsys. Terrain develops chip designs for the semiconductor industry.
Simplee a good deal. Israeli healthcare payments startup Simplee (incorporated as Simplificare) has been taken over by US-based Flywire Payments Corporation for a reported $100 million. Simplee enables healthcare providers to offer patients personalized payment plans.
Medical device company exits to expand. US-based Integer holdings has taken over Israel’s Inomec which plans to expand its team following the acquisition. Inomec’s makes laparoscopy systems, catheters and devices for brain and head surgery. Integer plans to turn Inomec’s offices into its Israeli R&D and sales office.
A high-yielding acquisition. Israel Chemicals Ltd (ICL) has taken over North Carolina-based Growers Holdings. Growers develops technology that collects and turns manual and machine-generated farm data into planting and fertilization recommendations, aiming to generate higher agricultural yields.
Another $200 million for SentinelOne. US-based VC firm Insight Partners has led a $200 million investment in Israel-linked cybersecurity company SentinelOne. Previous investments valued SentinelOne as a Unicorn (companies worth over $1 billion). The new funds provide SentinelOne with money for strategic acquisitions.
CULTURE, ENTERTAINMENT & SPORT`
The Best of Momologues. To celebrate International Women’s Day, Center Stage – Israel’s permanent theater for English Language productions in Ra’anana – is presenting (on March 14) a staged reading of “The Best of Momologues” – an original comedy about Motherhood. Bring a Mom to get the second ticket at half price!
To the Moon – read all about it. Gefen Publishing has published two new books about SpaceIL’s project to send the Beresheet spacecraft to the Moon. “To the Moon on a Plastic Bottle” by Dan Raviv and Linor Bar-El is for regular readers. “The Little Spacecraft” by Dr Mom and Shana Koppel is for children and their parents.
Things to do in Israel during March. March events include Lionel Richie concert, Purim Desert Carnival, InDNegev Purim Carnival, Lunar Purim, Fattal Rock Festival in Eilat, Jerusalem Marathon, Tel Aviv Mud Run and many more. See links for Purim events in Tel Aviv and Jerusalem.
Israeli cycling team races in UAE. (TY Janglo & Jacques) The “Israel Start-Up Nation” cycling team made history by competing in the United Arab Emirates Tour, becoming the first Israeli team to participate in the Middle East’s top cycling race. http://israelbetweenthelines.com/2020/02/27/israeli-cyclists-ride-in-uae-tour/
THE JEWISH STATE
Jews pray at Kotel for coronavirus victims. The Orthodox Union (OU) Israel helped organize a special prayer gathering at the Western Wall on behalf of those suffering from the coronavirus. OU Rabbi Avi Berman said “We know how to talk to God and say, ‘Please, bring a speedy recovery to all those who are sick.”
Dead Sea is surrounded by wildflowers. Israel’s extraordinary winter rains have not only replenished the Sea of Galilee (Kinneret) but also made the desert bloom. The shores along the northern Dead Sea have burst into carpets of color. Between Kibbutz Kalya and Ovnat, seeds that lay dormant for years have now germinated.
Arab and Jewish, Nasrin sings in Hebrew and Arabic. Nasrin Kadry (Qadri) is known to her thousands of Israeli fans as simply Nasreen. Since being reported here, she has sung at Israel’s Independence Day celebration and converted from Islam to Judaism. Her Hebrew name is Bracha (Blessing). Interesting NYT article.