COVID-19 News and Updates

The Latest Updates from the Technion

Technion researchers and alumni are responding to the COVID-19 pandemic with characteristic diligence and ingenuity. Here, you’ll find the latest updates about research and breakthroughs, straight from the Technion. We’ll update this page as soon as news becomes available, so please bookmark it and come back frequently.

Jump to:
Press/News | Videos

The Technion has cancelled non-essential activities and moved coursework online. To read the latest about how the campus is adjusting to this new reality, please click here.

Technion Innovations: COVID-19 Brochure

Press/News

Researchers Develop Self-cleaning Face Mask Which Could Kill Coronavirus
The Telegraph, 05/26/20

Why this matters: Led by Professor Yair Ein-Eli, researchers from the Technion Faculty of Materials Science and Engineering have developed a self-disinfecting, reusable protective face mask. The disinfection process occurs when a layer of carbon fibers in the mask is heated using a low current source, such as a mobile phone charger. A patent application for the invention has been submitted in the U.S.
Read article

Additional articles about self-disinfecting protective face mask: Times of Israel, 5/25/20, The Jerusalem Post, 5/25/20, ISRAEL21c, 5/26/20

Israel Develops Long-lasting Antiviral Polymers to Kill Coronavirus Instead of Bleach
Breaking News Israel, 5/17/20

Why this matters: A team led by Professor Shady Farah, of the Wolfson Faculty of Chemical Engineering, is developing disinfectant polymer materials with strong antiviral properties for the protection of surfaces where COVID-19 can linger. The polymers are highly stable macromolecules designed to have long-lasting disinfecting qualities. The antiviral polymers can be used in hospitals, schools, transportation systems, homes, and more.
Read article

Israel’s Pluristem: 75% of Treated COVID-19 Patients Off Ventilators
The Jerusalem Post, 5/16/20

Why this matters: Pluristem Therapeutics is reporting that 75% of critically ill COVID-19 patients treated with the company’s PLX cells are now off of any mechanical ventilation within 28 days. The company has been cleared by the FDA for a Phase II study in the treatment of severe COVID-19 cases complicated by Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome (ARDS). Pluristem founder Dr. Shai Meretzki and CEO and President Yaky Yanai are Technion alumni.
Read article
Read article

Could this Israeli Coronavirus Drug “Completely Prevent” Lung Damage?
The Jerusalem Post, 5/13/20

Why this matters: Haifa-based Bonus BioGroup has completed a preliminary study of a new mesenchymal stem cell-based drug to treat acute and life-threatening respiratory distress in COVID-19 patients. MesenCure, which consists of activated Mesenchymal Stromal Cells (MSCs) isolated from the fat-storing tissue of healthy donors, was found to reduce inflammation, promote the regeneration of the diseased lung tissue, and alleviate respiratory and other symptoms in laboratory and animal models. According to the company, it will still be quite some time until the drug undergoes trials. Bonus BioGroup CEO Dr. Shai Meretzki is a Technion alumnus. He is also the founder of Pluristem Therapeutics.
Read article

Israeli Researchers Develop Simulator for Coronavirus Exit Strategy
The Jerusalem Post, 5/13/20

Why this matters: Technion researchers and the Israeli government are working together to develop an economy-focused simulator aimed at helping decision-makers implement a successful exit strategy from the COVID-19 lockdown. Developed by a team led by Professors Nir Gavish and Omri Barak, of the Technion’s Applied Mathematics Program, the simulator is designed to have a user-friendly interface linking policies and cost indices in both the short and long term.
Read article

Additional Articles

As Pandemic Keeps Students at Home, Israeli Startup Keeps Training Doctors
The Jerusalem Post, 5/13/20

Why this matters: COVID-19 has forced universities to switch to remote learning, causing many disruptions, especially to laboratories and practical courses. But medical students at the Technion’s Rappaport Faculty of Medicine have continued their training on computer-generated patients, thanks to a company called Virtual Patient. The company was established by CEO Adam Baruch, an IT expert, and Professor Arie Oliven, of the Rappaport Faculty of Medicine.

The system has been fully employed for years at the Technion, and the company is also in discussions with several faculties of medicine in the US, Canada, and Poland.
Read article

As Meat Shortages Spread Globally, These 6 Startups Offer Some Alternative Cuts
CTECH, 05/10/20

Why this matters: With meat suppliers now experiencing significant COVID-19-related disruptions, this overview article highlights six Israeli companies developing alternatives to traditional meat sources. The list includes Aleph Farms, the clean meat startup based on the research of Professor Shulamit Levenberg, dean of the Technion Faculty of Biomedical Engineering and holder of the Stan and Sylvia Shirvan Chair in Cancer and Life Sciences. Also mentioned is Redefine Meat, which is developing a formulation from plant-based ingredients that can mimic the muscle structure, fat, and blood of a steak. Product Manager Alexey Tomsov is a Technion alumnus.
Read article

Israeli Army’s Idea Lab Aims at a New Target: Saving Lives
New York Times, 5/7/20

Why this matters: This New York Times article covers the shift of the role of the Israel Ministry of Defense, from defender of the country to the leader of a sprawling, high-speed effort to unleash some of the country’s most advanced technologies against COVID-19. The national undertaking is for the first time linking up major hospitals and research institutes with Israel’s high-tech sector, its military-industrial behemoths, and more. Among the companies with Technion DNA mentioned in the piece are Vocalis, which is collecting voice samples from COVID-19 patients and the general public, hoping to home in on the unique vocal fingerprint of the disease. Doing so will allow for rapid and early screening and diagnosis of COVID-19. Vocalis was founded by alumni Tal Wenderow, Daniel Aronovich, and Dr. Shady Hassan. Dr. Eyal Zimlichman, the featured speaker from the May 7 Live From Technion webinar, is quoted in the article. NanoScent, which is using nanosensor technology and AI to detect COVID-19, was co-founded by CEO Dr. Oren Gavriely, who is a Technion alumnus. The technology is based on the research of Professor Hossam Haick, who is the company’s Chief Scientific Officer. AnyVision, which tracks and monitors adherence to mask-wearing protocols in medical facilities, was founded by its CEO, Eylon Etshtein, a Technion alumnus.
Read article

New Method of Separating Particles Could Lead to Improved COVID-19 Test
The Jerusalem Post, 5/7/20

Why this matters: The microfluidics research of Professor Moran Bercovici could lead to point-of-care testing to detect the coronavirus. A team led by Prof. Bercovici, head of the Microfluidic Technologies Laboratory in the Technion Faculty of Mechanical Engineering, has developed methods for direct detection of biomarkers, without requiring time-consuming sample cleanup and amplification. They are now applying these methods to detecting the coronavirus, with the aim of creating a test that could be completed, from sample to answer, in minutes.
Read article

Daily Beast: Could This Shortcut Be the Answer to Mass COVID Testing?
Daily Beast, 5/6/20

Why this matters: A method developed by Technion and Rambam Hospital researchers for simultaneously testing multiple samples for COVID-19 is featured in this article about how authorities can accomplish the widescale testing needed to get ahead of the COVID-19 pandemic. The method, which has been successfully tested at Rambam, will dramatically increase the current COVID-19 testing capacity using existing available resources.
Read article

Israel Defense Firm Helps Hospitals Fight Global Pandemic
JNS, 5/5/20

Why this matters: Normally tasked with producing cutting-edge defense products that include the Iron Dome air-defense system, communications systems, and combat systems for land, air, and space, Israel’s Rafael has shifted its focus to assist the country’s health care systems in the fight against COVID-19. Rafael’s efforts, ranging from the manufacturing of ventilators to ways to remotely transmit medical readings of patients back to medical personnel to reduce infection risk, are being led by Technion alumna Irit Idan, Rafael’s executive vice president, and head of research and development. Dr. Idan will be one of the featured speakers in the June 3 Live From Technion webinar, “A Diverse Look at Israel’s Post-pandemic Economy.”
Read article

Technion Develops Simulator to Show How Corona Policies Affect the World
United With Israel, 5/5/20

Why this matters: Technion researchers have developed a computer simulation to assess how the government’s policy decisions will affect the continued spread of the coronavirus in the country. The simulator uses data from around the world but is being tailored to the Israeli economy, and the team hopes that decision-makers will use it as a tool to explore alternatives to government actions concerning both the health system and the Israeli economy. Team members include Professor Nir Gavish, of the Department of Mathematics, Professor Omri Barak, of the Computer Science Department, and Dr. Gal Alon.
Read article 

Israeli Robotics Program Creates Robot to Treat COVID-19 Patients
Jewish Journal, 5/6/20

Why this matters: Led by Professor Gil Yudilevitch of the Technion Faculty of Aerospace Engineering, students and alumni of the FIRST Robotics program from the Haifa’s Reali School are designing a robotic platform to be operated remotely by medical staff, reducing their risk of infection by COVID-19. Dubbed COROBOT, the platform is being used in Rambam Health Care Campus’ Coronavirus Department. This article is based upon an interview with Technion Vice President for External Relations and Resource Development Alon Wolf, who is the academic director of the FIRST program in Israel.
Read article

Israeli Hospitals Test Technion-developed Anti-Viral Sticker to Add Protection to Surgical Masks
NoCamels, 5/3/20

Why this matters: Hospitals across Israel are now pilot testing a Technion-developed, 3D-printed sticker that attaches to surgical masks, where it adds a layer of protection against COVID-19. Called “Maya,” the sticker is comprised of nanometric fibers coated with disinfectants, and enhances the containment of nanoparticles and effectively neutralizes viruses as they touch the mask. The technology behind the sticker was developed by Faculty of Mechanical Engineering Professor Eyal Zussman, in conjunction with the Galilee Medical Center.
Read article

“We Know from Past Crises that some Great Startups and Companies will Rise”
CTECH, 5/4/20

Why this matters: COVID-19 has changed the investing industry, much as it has many aspects of life, according to Technion alumna Shayma Sharif. Instead of waiting for the dust to settle after the global pandemic, her venture capital fund  recently announced a new $20 million fund named the FAST Seed initiative. The strategy is based on the historic knowledge that “some great startups and companies will rise from crises,” she said in this interview with CTECH. “A crisis can also focus the mind of the founders as they find a way to work around it.”
Read article

On the Front Line of Testing
Westside Spirit, 4/27/20

Why this matters: Jacobs Technion-Cornell Institute Runway Startup Postdoc program alumni company Biotia is using its technology in the fight against COVID-19. Using swab samples from the subways in New York, and in cities around the world, the company says they can diagnose and analyze the sample to determine the likelihood of the spread of infection and where the sickest patients are located. Additionally, the Biotia lab in Brooklyn is the first commercial lab to be certified to test for the coronavirus in the borough.
Read article

European Investment Bank to Provide Israel’s Pluristem with $54M for COVID-19, Other Cell Therapies
NoCamels, 4/30/20

Why this matters: The European Investment Bank has announced that it is supporting Pluristem Therapeutics’ revolutionary placenta-based cell-therapy product for COVID-19.  The treatment, in which cells derived from the placentas of newborns are injected into the muscles of the patient, has already been successfully tested in six critically ill COVID-19 patients in Israel. Pluristem founder Dr. Shai Meretzki is a Technion alumnus.
Read article

Touch-free Access for Games and Elevators in a Post-COVID World
ISRAEL21c, 4/30/20

Why this matters: Israeli startup Sonarax is ready for the new world where physically touching keypads, elevator buttons, and more is verboten. The company’s ready-to-install machine-to-machine data transmission technology uses soundwaves to transfer data between any devices equipped with a speaker and microphone. The company was founded by Technion alumnus Roni Papo.
Read article

Israeli Researchers Developing Treatment to Save COVID-19 Patients’ Lungs
Haaretz, 4/30/20

Why this matters: Professor Josué Sznitman and his team have developed an innovative technology that could dramatically improve the efficacy of existing drugs for treating Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome (ARDS). The patent-pending technology, known as Liquid Foam Therapy (LIFT), is intended to dramatically improve the distribution of surfactant across the lungs. More generally, LIFT is a radical new method for pulmonary drug delivery with the potential of delivering therapeutics homogeneously into the lungs and, importantly in large.
Read article

The Unlikely Plan to Save COVID-19 Patients with Planes
Engadget, 4/27/20

Why this matters: Neta Blum, one of the participants in the ATS Student Delegation Tour that took place earlier this year, is cited as an expert in this article about the possible use of grounded airplanes as hyperbaric chambers in the treatment of COVID-19 patients.
Read article

Israeli Startup Helps Docs Keep Up with COVID-19 Science
ISRAEL21c, 4/26/20

Why this matters: Israeli digital health startup Kahun is helping medical professionals review the plethora of COVID-19-related medical papers published since the pandemic began. Using AI and algorithms, Kahun can analyze medical data found in some 30 million articles in databases accessed by research engines. It searches for ties between symptoms and possible diagnoses, insights from blood test results, and more. The info is then structured into a machine-readable “knowledge graph” complete with links to the relevant data sources. Co-founder and CEO Eitan Ron is a Technion alumnus.
Read article

Up at Night with Coronavirus Nightmares? Experts Say It’s Totally Normal
Times of Israel, 4/24/20

Why this matters: Renowned sleep researcher and former Technion President Peretz Lavie is quoted extensively in this article about the preponderance of disrupted sleep being reported during the COVID-19 pandemic. According to Professor Lavie, sleep is a very sensitive barometer of our levels of stress, and the first thing that changes when people are stressed. He says it is normal to have strange dreams these days, “because we are in a bizarre situation.”  He advises keeping to as normal a routine as possible to help restore regular sleep and avoid nightmares.
Read article

Israel Researchers Try to Track Coronavirus Outbreaks Through Sewers
The Jerusalem Post, 4/23/20

Why this matters: Studies show that COVID-19 patients begin shedding the virus in urine and feces before they show any symptoms and even if they never develop symptoms. Professor Eran Friedler, of the Technion Faculty of Civil and Environmental Engineering and the Grand Water Research Institute, is part of an Israeli effort to develop a wastewater monitoring system that could determine the infection rates in neighborhoods and other areas.
Read article

Additional article about tracking COVID-19 through sewers: NoCamels, 5/12/20

Cannabis Companies Join Search for COVID-19 Cure
Calcalist, 4/20/20

Why this matters: Medical cannabis companies have entered the race to develop a cure for COVID-19. One such company, Cannasoul Analytics Ltd., is working with Technion Professor Dedi Meiri to develop two complementary drugs for the novel coronavirus: the first to reduce overreactions of the patient’s immune response, and the second to slow down the course of the disease.
Read article

Additional article about cannabis as a possible COVID-19 treatment: Lab Manager, 4/28/20

Tamar Robotics Deploys New COVID-19 Solution for Coronavirus Wards to Protect Medical Teams
Yahoo! Finance, 4/21/20

Why this matters: Tamar NIV LTD, a developer of neurosurgical robotic technology solutions, has developed and deployed a protective patient hood for use in hospitals. Known as the NIV Greenhouse™, the hood prevents the spread of COVID-19 and protects medical teams when applying non-invasive ventilation therapy for COVID-19 patients. It enables the use of non-invasive ventilation such as CPAP and BiPAP devices in COVID-19 treatment which was previously deemed too risky for medical staff due to the potential for the spread of contagious disease from the patient’s breath. Professor Moshe Shoham is co-founder of Tamar Robotics, and the Technion is one of the company’s investors.
Read article

Additional articles about protective patient hood from Tamar NIV LTD: NoCamels, 4/22/20

Stem Cells from a Baby’s Placenta May Save Life of Coronavirus Victim in NJ
New York Post, 4/14/20

Why this matters: Doctors in New Jersey are battling COVID-19 in one 49-year-old male patient with a revolutionary new treatment from Israeli company Pluristem Therapeutics. The treatment, in which cells derived from the placentas of newborns are injected into the muscles of the patient, has already been successfully tested in six critically ill COVID-19 patients in Israel. Pluristem founder Dr. Shai Meretzki is a Technion alumnus.
Read article

Israeli Scientists at Cutting Edge of Coronavirus Vaccine Research
Jewish News, 4/16/20

Why this matters: This article specifically calls out the COVID-19 vaccine research being conducted by Professor Avi Schroeder, and by Israel’s MIGAL Institute. Former Technion Professor Yitzhak Apeloig is on the MIGAL Board of Directors. Its scientific advisory committee includes Nobel laureate Professor Aaron Ciechanover, Professor Gadi Schuster, and Professor Moshe Shoham.
Read article

COVID-19 and the Need for Enhanced U.S.-Israel Technology Cooperation
Foundation for Defense of Democracies, 4/17/20

Why this matters: In this opinion piece, Brigadier General (res.) Jacob Nagel and John Hannah argue that Israel may be the United States’ greatest ally, and its most important source of life-saving technological innovations, in the battle against COVID-19. Several current COVID-19-related research projects happening at the Technion are included in the article. Brig. Gen. Nagel is the director of the Center for Security Science and Technology and the Peter Munk Research Institute.
Read article

Startups Sprouted in Israeli Design Contest are Now Recruits in the COVID-19 War
Times of Israel, 4/19/20

Why this matters: Teams from a January 2020 competition focused on the use of creative design thinking to boost stagnant areas of healthcare and public health are now advancing their projects to provide solutions for the COVID-19 outbreak. EnRoute, a solution to make in-hospital patient transportation more efficient, is refocusing its efforts on tracking and moving coronavirus patients, tests, and respiratory machines. By providing tracking data of in-hospital transportation and equipment, EnRoute can help contain the spread of infected persons and equipment. EnRoute Co-Founder Ori Shelma is a graduate student in biomedical engineering at the Technion, and the company’s business lead, Tony Liebel, is a master’s student at Cornell Tech. Skinly, made up of Cornell Tech and Technion students, as well as an Israeli and a Dutch designer, is tackling hospital-acquired infections through a unique full-body suit that would decrease the transfer of bacteria. The competition teams, intentionally multidisciplinary and multinational, were composed of over 100 engineering and MBA students from Cornell Tech and the Technion, alongside local Israeli designers from companies such as Facebook, Waze and Wix, and healthcare workers from Sourasky and its Ichilov Hospital.
Read article

Moovit Launches Transit Solution for Essential Workers
ISRAEL21c, 4/10/20

Why this matters: In response to plummeting public transport use due to COVID-19 regulations, Technion alumnus-founded urban transit app Moovit is launching an Emergency Mobilization On-Demand service to get essential workers to their jobs safely. Using the Moovit app or a transit agency app powered by Moovit, riders can request an on-demand or pre-scheduled ride as well as select a pickup/dropoff location. The company’s algorithms enable multiple riders to share the journey while keeping in line with health regulations such as the permitted number of passengers per vehicle. Moovit Co-founder Roy Bick is a Technion alumnus.

Read article

Technion Researchers Developing Cheap, Fast Coronavirus Test Kit
Times of Israel, 4/17/20

Why this matters: Led by Professor Naama Geva-Zatorsky, a Technion research team is developing a home kit that would enable people to be quickly and inexpensively tested for the coronavirus, without the need for elaborate lab equipment. The kit has successfully identified the virus in saliva samples, which unlike swab tests, do not require expertise. The researchers say the kit is 99% accurate.
Read article

Additional articles about the rapid COVID-19 home testing kit being developed at the Technion: The Jerusalem Post, 4/24/20 and Breaking Israel News, 4/23/20.

Israeli COVID-19 Treatment Shows 100% Survival Rate – Preliminary Data
JPOST, 4/12/20

Why this matters: Six critically ill coronavirus patients in Israel who are considered high-risk for mortality have been treated with Pluristem’s placenta-based cell-therapy product and survived, according to preliminary data provided by the Haifa-based company. Pluristem was founded in 2001 by Shai Meretzki of the Technion, who made use of a stem cell patent which was developed during his Ph.D studies at The Rappaport Faculty Of Medicine.
Read article

Additional articles about a promising preliminary treatment for COVID-19: New York Post, 4/13/20 and Hamodia, 4/14/20.

Student-Built Robot to Help Battle Corona in Hospital
ISRAEL21C, 4/12/20

Why this matters: High school students created a robotic platform prototype that shuttles supplies to and from the coronavirus ward while controlled remotely by medical staff. If the robot is successful, additional FIRST ISRAEL groups — an international educational organization led by the Technion that uses robotics competitions to promote entrepreneurship and learning among young children and youth — will join the effort.
Read article

Additional article about the student-built robot: The Jerusalem Post, 4/15/20.

Israel’s First Home-Grown Ultra-Orthodox Doctor in Midst of Coronavirus Fight
WORLD ISRAEL NEWS, 4/12/20

Why this matters: Dr. Yehuda Sabiner, who earned his doctorate from the Technion’s Rappaport Faculty of Medicine, is the first person born and raised in an ultra-Orthodox community in Israel to become a mainstream doctor. In this article, he reflects on his recent experiences working in Israel’s first dedicated Coronavirus ward, at Tel Hashomer Hospital near Tel Aviv.
Read article

Israeli Anti-Terror Tech to Facially Recognize Mask-Wearing Health Staff
THE JERUSALEM POST, 4/12/20

Why this matters: The technology behind Cortica’s AI-powered Corsight is now being used to recognize and protect individuals wearing medical face masks. The technology requires less than 50% of the face to be exposed to ensure accurate recognition, solving issues posed by increasing preferences and even requirements for citizens to wear face masks. Cortica was founded in 2007 by Technion Professor Yehoshua (Josh) Zeevi and two of his then-doctoral graduates, Igal Raichelgauz and Karina Ordinaev. The company, based on brain research conducted at the Technion for 10 years, boasts more than 250 registered patents in artificial intelligence.
Read article

Additional articles about face-detection tech that works on masked faces: ISRAEL21c, 4/21/20 and NoCamels, 4/23/20.

New Israeli-Designed Mask Creates “Air-Curtain” for Those Treating COVID-19
TIMES OF ISRAEL, 4/10/20

Why this matters: Professor Ezri Tarazi, chair of the Industrial Design Program and head of the Design-Tech Lab at the Technion, and doctors at Rambam Health Care Campus, have developed a device that dramatically improves the efficacy of protective masks worn by COVID-19 medical staff. The device continuously generates airflow downwards from the forehead area and creates an ‘air shield’ inside the protective mask that isolates the doctor from the surrounding atmosphere, which may carry COVID-19 droplets.
Read article
Read press release

Israeli Coronavirus Mapping Technology to Assist Authorities Globally
THE JERUSALEM POST, 4/10/20

Why this matters: Co-founded by Technion alumni Jonathan Amir, Dr. Kira Radinsky, and Professor Moshe Shoham, Israeli startup Diagnostic Robotics Ltd. as created an AI-based remote screening platform used by Israel to monitor the spread of the COVID-19 in recent weeks. According to the company, the platform will now be deployed globally, including in the U.S., Western Europe, and Asia.
Read article

Additional articles about the AI-based remote screening platform used by Israel to monitor the spread of the COVID-19: No Camels, 4/14/20 and ISRAEL21c, 4/16/20.

Israeli Lab Pauses Research on Shrimp Viruses to Develop COVID-19 Coronavirus Vaccine
FORBES, 4/10/20

Why this matters: Whether it is the novel coronavirus behind the global COVID-19 pandemic, or one that causes a devastating disease in shrimp, all viruses require certain proteins in order to pass from one cell to another. Stopping the production of those proteins will effectively stop the virus. Having already developed an antiviral that prevents a deadly disease in farm-raised shrimp, Professor Avi Schroeder is now working to apply the same technology to help in the fight against COVID-19.
Read article

Israeli Mask and Face Shield Solutions for Coronavirus
ISRAEL21C, 4/10/20

Why this matters: A new antiviral sticker that attaches to regular surgical masks is being tested at Galilee Medical Center in Nahariya. The sticker was developed in part by Prof. Eyal Zussman of the Nano-Engineering Lab at the Technion.
Read article
Watch Video

Additional articles about 3D-printed, nanofiber stickers for masks: CTECH, 3/30/20 and ISRAEL21c, 4/2/20.

New Hope for Coronavirus Patients With Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome
JEWISH NEWS SYNDICATE, 4/8/20

Why this matters: Professor Josué Sznitman and his team have developed an innovative technology that could dramatically improve the efficacy of existing drugs for treating Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome (ARDS). The patent-pending technology, known as Liquid Foam Therapy (LIFT), is intended to dramatically improve the distribution of surfactant across the lungs. More generally, LIFT is a radical new method for pulmonary drug delivery with the potential of delivering therapeutics homogeneously into the lungs and, importantly in large
Read article
Read press release

Runway Postdocs Innovate Startups Targeting COVID-19
CORNELL CHRONICLE, 4/6/20

Why this matters: Jacobs Technion-Cornell Institute Runway Startup Postdocs Rebecca Brachman and Server Ertem are tackling the COVID-19 pandemic head on. The pair realized that a cancer detection tool under development by Ertem’s company, Katena Oncology, could be adapted to the new coronavirus. Brachman and Ertem are now working with hospitals in New York City and companies around the world to develop a rapid, inexpensive and accurate test for coronavirus immunity that could help individuals and communities determine who might safely rejoin the workforce or care for the sick.
Read article

How Israeli Startups Are Hacking the Coronavirus
TIMES OF ISRAEL, 4/2/20

Why this matters: Amid a global shortage of ventilators in the battle against the global COVID-19 pandemic, an Israeli group made up of Air Force electronics experts, robotics specialists, and medical professionals has come up with an innovative hack that could help hospitals around the world produce them quickly and at low cost. The system, known as Ambo-Vent, was developed jointly with more than 40 partners including Microsoft Israel’s Garage program, which focuses on hack culture, Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI), and FIRST Israel, the Technion-led robotics competition for high school students.
Read article

Additional articles about how Israeli startups are hacking COVID-19: NoCamels, 4/5/20 and ISRAEL21c, 4/20/20.

Weapons Against Coronavirus
GLOBES, 4/1/20

Why this matters: Israel’s defense companies, which in more normal times keep the country safe from missiles and other physical threats, have joined the fight against COVID-19. An initiative by Israel’s Government Companies Authority has created a connection between Israeli hospitals, defense companies, research institutions, and the Ministry of Health. The medical team puts forward the requirements, the companies and institutions produce solutions, and the regulator acts as integrator and gives approval in principle that allows technological solutions to be implemented in record time. As an example of this collaboration, the article cites a system for remotely measuring body temperature, and respiration and pulse rates, that is being trialed at a government hospital. Israel Aircraft Industries engineers combined an Elta radar system with optic and artificial intelligence technology from the Technion and Mafat. The system, which can remotely identify people suffering from fever, for example, could replace manual examinations not only at entrances to hospitals, but also at shopping centers, government offices, and more.
Read article

Israel Greenlights Coronavirus Blocking Sticker Pilot
CTECH, 3/30/20

Why this matters: Israel’s Directorate of Defense Research and Development has greenlighted a Technion-developed, 3D-printed sticker that attaches to surgical masks, where it adds a layer of protection against COVID-19. Called “Maya,” the sticker is comprised of nanometric fibers coated with disinfectants, and enhances the containment of nanoparticles and effectively neutralizes viruses as they touch the mask. The sticker is now being used in a pilot study by medical personnel at the Galilee Medical Center in Northern Israel. The technology behind the sticker was developed by Faculty of Mechanical Engineering Professor Eyal Zussman, in conjunction with the Galilee Medical Center.
Read article

Additional articles about pilot study of 3D-printed, nanofiber stickers for masks: ISRAEL21c, 4/2/20.

Israeli Government to Send Daily Coronavirus-Detection Questionnaire
CALCALIST 3/30/20

Why this matters: Co-founded by Technion alumni Jonathan Amir, Dr. Kira Radinsky, and Professor Moshe Shoham, Israeli startup Diagnostic Robotics Ltd. is behind a nationwide initiative to track COVID-19 through a daily coronavirus questionnaire. The company’s Diagnostic Robotics COVID-19 Remote Assessment and Monitoring tool is empowering the healthcare system to respond digitally to the growing pressures of the pandemic.
Read article

Additional articles how Diagnostic Robotics is helping Israel track COVID-19: Jewish Insider, 4/1/20.

The Israeli “Pooling” Method That Could Rapidly Expand COVID-19 Testing
TABLET, 3/27/20

Why this matters: Researchers at Technion and Rambam Health Care Campus have successfully tested a method that will dramatically increase the current COVID-19 testing capacity using existing available resources. This method, known as pooling, enables simultaneous testing of dozens of samples. Its implementation has the potential to greatly accelerate the rate of testing and detection of COVID-19 infected patients in the population. The trial was completed in a matter of days thanks to the support of the Ministry of Health and the close collaboration between Technion and Rambam. Testing for COVID-19 is currently being conducted with the focus on people with specific symptoms. The current rate of testing does not allow for monitoring of asymptomatic carriers in the population, which is vital to curb the epidemic.
Read article

In the Age of Zoom, Who Is Watching What?
JEWISH INSIDER, 3/27/20

Why this matters: According to a survey conducted by Jewish Insider, the Live from Technion webinar with Professor Asya Rolls was among last week’s top online offerings from Jewish organizations about the ongoing coronavirus crisis.
Read article

Israeli Scientist’s Shrimp Antiviral Could Be Adapted for Coronavirus
LIFEBOAT FOUNDATION, 3/26/20

Why this matters: All viruses require certain proteins in order to pass from one cell to another. Stopping the production of those proteins will effectively stop the virus. Having already developed an antiviral that prevents a deadly disease in farm-raised shrimp, Professor Avi Schroeder is now working to apply the same technology to help in the fight against COVID-19. He recently shared about his work in the first episode of ATS’s new Live From Technion webinar series.
Read article

Additional article about how a shrimp antiviral might be repurposed to battle COVID-19: Jew in the City, 4/29/20

This Would Be a Really Great Moment for Food Delivery Robots
SLATE, 3/25/20

Why this matters: With social distancing and sheltering in place orders now the norm, there is increasing talk of developing robots that can deliver restaurant or supermarket food to homes in a tamper-proof compartment. The article includes significant commentary by Jacobs Technion-Cornell Institute Professor Wendy Ju, who is an expert on human-robot interaction.
Read article

Technion Researchers on the Frontline in the Fight Against COVID-19
THE JERUSALEM POST, 3/25/20

Why this matters: Researchers in more than 20 Technion laboratories are working around the clock to help fight the spread of COVID-19. Research topics include early detection and diagnosis of the virus, development of a vaccine and therapies, and designing robotic solutions for remote monitoring and care of patients. Please note: much of the research listed in the press release is preliminary. The release contains all information that is currently available about these projects, and further details and developments will be shared as they become available.
Read article
Read press release

Israeli Scientist Could Adapt Shrimp Antiviral for Humans
ISRAEL21C, 3/25/20

Why this matters: Whether it is the novel coronavirus behind the global COVID-19 pandemic, or one that causes a devastating disease in shrimp, all viruses require certain proteins in order to pass from one cell to another. Stopping the production of those proteins will effectively stop the virus. Having already developed an antiviral that prevents a deadly disease in farm-raised shrimp, As he discussed in the first episode of ATS’s new Live From Israel webinar series, Professor Avi Schroeder is now working to apply the same technology to help in the fight against COVID-19. The article also discusses some of Prof. Schroeder’s other fascinating research and companies.
Read article

Israel Startup Aims to Identify Coronavirus Carriers Using Their Voice
TIMES OF ISRAEL, 3/25/20

Why this matters: Technion graduates Tal Wenderow, Daniel Aronovich and Dr. Shady Hassan are answering the Corona challenge through their innovative company Vocalis Health. The company has joined with Israel’s Defense Ministry to collect voice samples from COVID-19 patients and the general public, hoping to home in on the unique vocal fingerprint of the disease. Doing so will allow for rapid and early screening and diagnosis of COVID-19.
Read article

A New Perspective: Virtual Reality Shows Exactly How COVID-19 Can Damage the Lungs
WJLA, 3/23/20

Why this matters: High-tech imaging made possible by Technion alumni-founded company Surgical Theater is now providing a first-of-its-kind look at the damage COVID-19 can inflict on a patient’s lungs. Surgical Theater Co-founder Moty Avisar is a Technion alumnus.
Read article

The Israeli Inventions That Lessen the Healthcare System’s Burden
WJLA, 3/23/20

Why this matters: In Israel and around the globe, tech companies, especially those in the medtech and biotech sectors, are being enlisted in the battle against COVID-19. This overview of Israeli companies allocating resources and manpower to find new solutions that could ease the strain on the overburdened healthcare system includes predictive care startup CLEW Medical. The company developed an algorithm that collects data from emergency care monitoring devices and alerts the medical team to any deterioration in a patient’s condition. As the healthcare system becomes more and more burdened, Clew’s technology could point out a patient in danger 6-12 hours before their condition starts to worsen, enabling caregivers to prepare in advance. CLEW Medical Founder Avigdor Faians is a Technion alumnus.
Read article

Experts Speak on Israel’s Response to Coronavirus in Virtual Panel
TIMES OF ISRAEL, 3/20/20

Why this matters: Technion alumna Dr. Kira Radinsky and her team at Diagnostic Robotics have developed new technology to aid in the identification of Israeli patients who are developing COVID-19 symptoms, and helping to get those patients ready for home hospitalization. “The information is delivered as red flags to health services in Israel,” said Radinsky, whose heat map of COVID-19 hot spots helps medical services identify which areas of the country need intensive care. Dr. Radinsky is Chair and Chief Technology Officer of Diagnostic Robotics.
Read article

Israel to Weigh “Compassionate Use” of Pluristem Therapy for COVID-19
REUTERS, 3/19/20

Why this matters: Israel’s Health Ministry has approved a request by Pluristem Therapeutics to seek case-by-case permission for compassionate treatment of COVID-19 patients with its stem cell therapy. Pluristem said in a regulatory filing the ministry may now approve proposed treatments for severely ill patients, though it has yet to submit any requests and there is no guarantee the government would approve each case. Pluristem founder Dr. Shai Meretzki is a Technion alumnus.
Read article

Complacency, Not Panic, Is the Real Danger
NEW YORK TIMES, 3/19/20

Why this matters: Despite mixed messages from government officials and shortages of tests and hospital capacity, there is little evidence of widespread panic during the COVID-19 pandemic. In fact, according to Professor Ido Erev of the Technion’s William Davidson Faculty of Industrial Engineering and Management, decision-making under threat suggests that concerns about looming mass panic are badly misplaced.
Read article

Pooling Method for Accelerated Testing of COVID-19
ATS.ORG, 3/18/20

Why this matters: Researchers at Technion and Rambam Health Care Campus have successfully tested a method that will dramatically increase the current COVID-19 testing capacity using existing available resources. This method, known as pooling, enables simultaneous testing of dozens of samples. Its implementation has the potential to greatly accelerate the rate of testing and detection of COVID-19 infected patients in the population. The trial was completed in a matter of days thanks to the support of the Ministry of Health and the close collaboration between Technion and Rambam. Testing for COVID-19 is currently being conducted with the focus on people with specific symptoms. The current rate of testing does not allow for monitoring of asymptomatic carriers in the population, which is vital to curb the epidemic.
Read article

Additional articles about the pooling method for accelerated testing:
The Jerusalem Post, 4/1/20
Jewish News Syndicate, 3/25/20
Good News Network, 3/19/20
Breaking News Israel, 3/18/20
ISRAEL21c, 3/19/20
Jewish News Syndicate, 3/19/20
The Jerusalem Post, 3/19/20
Times of Israel, 3/19/20

Israel Cell Therapy to Treat Coronavirus Patients With Breathing Problem
THE JERUSALEM POST, 3/15/20

Why this matters: Pluristem, a regenerative medicine company, says its placenta-based cell therapy product could be used to treat hundreds of patients suffering from respiratory and inflammatory complications associated with COVID-19. Pluristem is working in collaboration with the BIH Center for Regenerative Therapy (BCRT) and Charité University of Medicine Berlin. Their joint project is designed to evaluate the therapeutic effects of Pluristem’s patented PLX cell product on patients who are developing severe respiratory disorders. Pluristem founder Dr. Shai Meretzki is a Technion alumnus.
Read article

New Ventilator Mask Protects Entire Face From Coronavirus
ISRAEL21C, 3/15/20

Why this matters: Dr. Noam Gavriely, a physician and serial medical-device inventor, has developed a new ventilator mask that could be a gamechanger for healthcare workers, airport workers, and people in preventive quarantine. The ViriMASK Protective Oculo-Respirator is strapped around the head, covering the eyes with a see-through visor and the nose and mouth with a filtering mechanism. It should be ready for testing by an independent lab in mid-April. Dr. Gavriely is a Technion alumnus and former member of the Technion Faculty of Medicine.
Read article

Covid-19’s Silver Lining
ISRAEL21C, 3/15/20

Why this matters: With the current COVID-19 pandemic dominating the news and generally raising anxiety levels around the globe, Technion Associate Professor Daniel Orenstein penned this very encouraging opinion piece that was published in the Times of Israel. Prof. Orenstein, from the Faculty of Architecture and Town Planning, opines that there is a silver lining to COVID-19, and points to six interim positive trends that should be considered.
Read article

Israeli Scientists: “In a Few Weeks, We Will Have a Coronavirus Vaccine”
ISRAEL21C, 3/15/20

Why this matters: According to a press release issued by Israel’s MIGAL Institute, its researchers are on the cusp of developing the first vaccine for the novel coronavirus. The release also says that if all goes as planned, the vaccine could be ready within a few weeks and available in 90 days. MIGAL is an independent research organization whose mission is to promote and conduct applied research to benefit private and public enterprise. Its research team includes 80 PhDs and a total of 260 researchers distributed into 53 labs that are managed by seasoned senior group leaders. Our scientists hold unique expertise in plant-based platforms to produce therapeutic molecules, metabolic engineering, chemical extractions, vaccines technologies and computational chemistry. Former Technion Professor Yitzhak Apeloig is on the MIGAL Board of Directors. Its scientific advisory committee includes Nobel laureate Professor Aaron Ciechanover, Professor Gadi Schuster, and Professor Moshe Shoham.
Read article

Coronavirus Facility Opens at Rambam Hospital Using New Israeli Tech
THE JERUSALEM POST, 3/4/20

Why this matters: Technion-affiliated Rambam Hospital is opening a new coronavirus department this week. The facility will be on its own floor, isolated from the rest of the hospital. Construction and logistic teams worked cut an entire floor of the hospital in two: a hospitalization wing on one side and rooms for the team on the other side. The department will also have a separate ambulance entrance and elevator. Air from the rooms will be pumped through a filter before it exits the building. The department will use a new remote monitoring system developed by the Israeli start-up BioBeat, whose co-founder and CTO Johanan May is a Technion alumnus. The system includes smart monitoring stickers that will replace currently used monitoring methods. The stickers will be put on all the patients and allow continuous monitoring of breathing, saturation, pulse, blood pressure, body temperature, and other essential metrics. The results will be continually streamed to an information system, allowing the monitoring of every patient without physical contact.
Read article

Israel Races to Find Solutions for Coronavirus
ISRAEL21C, 2/16/20

Why this matters: One of the most problematic elements of the current global coronavirus epidemic is that people appear to be contagious even before they show symptoms of the disease. Israeli company MeMed Diagnostics hopes to change that. The company is working with collaborators around the globe to see whether “some derivatives of MeMed technology” could detect infectious patients in the pre-symptomatic stage. According to MeMed Co-founder and CEO Eran Eden, who is a Technion alumnus, the company already has preliminary data showing that “one could potentially monitor the immune response and tell if somebody will be sick before he feels sick.”
Read article

Videos

COVID-19 Playlist on the Technion YouTube Channel

Ventilation for Patients

Why this matters: Tamar NIV LTD, a developer of neurosurgical robotic technology solutions, has developed and deployed a protective patient hood for use in hospitals. Known as the NIV Greenhouse™, the hood prevents the spread of COVID-19 and protects medical teams when applying non-invasive ventilation therapy for COVID-19 patients. It enables the use of non-invasive ventilation such as CPAP and BiPAP devices in COVID-19 treatment which was previously deemed too risky for medical staff due to the potential for the spread of contagious disease from the patient’s breath. Professor Moshe Shoham is co-founder of Tamar Robotics, and the Technion is one of the company’s investors.
Watch video

COROBOT: Robot for Remote Medical Care of Covid-19 Patients

Why this matters: Students and alumni of the FIRST Robotics program from the Reali School in Haifa, led by Professor Gil Yudilevitch of Technion Faculty of Aerospace Engineering, are designing a robotic platform to be operated remotely by medical staff, reducing their risk of infection by COVID-19. Dubbed COROBOT, the platform will be used in Rambam Health Care Campus’ new Coronavirus Department.
Watch video

Alumni Company Vocalis Monitors COVID-19 with Voice Biomarkers

Why this matters: Technion graduates Tal Wenderow, Daniel Aronovich, and Dr. Shady Hassan are answering the Corona challenge through their innovative company Vocalis Health. The company has joined with Israel’s Defense Ministry to collect voice samples from COVID-19 patients and the general public, hoping to home in on the unique vocal fingerprint of the disease. Doing so will allow for rapid and early screening and diagnosis of COVID-19.
Watch video

MAYA ANTIVIRAL COVID-19 PROTECTIVE STICKER FOR MASKS EYAL ZUSSMAN TECHNION

The Maya antiviral protective sticker for masks, designed to protect medical staff and patients from COVID-19, was created by Technion Professor Eyal Zussman of the Nano-Engineering Lab in the Faculty of Mechanical Engineering, together with Dr. Samer Srouji of the Galilee Medical Center.
Watch video
Watch video

PROFESSOR DROR SELIKTAR: TARGETED ADMINISTRATION OF DRUGS TO TREAT COVID-19 PATIENTS

Technion alumnus Uri Bettesh, the founder and CEO of Datos Health, discusses how his company’s remote care platform is being used to automatically monitor coronavirus patients.
Watch video

TECHNION ALUMNUS URI BETTESH: CORONAVIRUS REMOTE CARE PLATFORM FROM DATOS

Led by Professor Dror Seliktar, a team from the Technion Faculty of Biomedical Engineering is developing an innovative technology that makes possible the targeted administration of drugs in COVID-19 patients. Drug-laden microgels can be utilized for localized delivery into the lungs by intravenous injection. This can provide efficient treatment of critically ill coronavirus patients.
Watch video

Israel Races to Find Solutions for Coronavirus

In this video, filmed on March 17, President Sivan explains the measures Technion is taking to meet the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Watch video

Breath Test for Corona

Professor Hossam Haick and his team  are now applying nanosensor technology to facilitate rapid and remote screening for COVID-19. These intelligent sensory systems can be used to diagnose the novel coronavirus, and future epidemics. The group’s research is focused on the use of nanosensors and AI for breath testing, and on a wearable skin patch. The methods are non-invasive, fast and inexpensive, and already undergoing clinical trials in a hospital where COVID-19 is being treated.
Watch video

Technion Professor Marcelle Machluf: Nano-Ghosts to Trap Corona Virus

Professor Marcelle Machluf, dean of the Technion Faculty of Biotechnology and Food Engineering, explains how her patented Nano-Ghost therapy could be adapted for use in fighting COVID-19. Prof. Machluf heads the Lab for Cancer Drug Delivery & Cell Based Technologies in the Faculty of Biotechnology and Food Engineering.
Watch video

What We Know About “the” Coronavirus

Technion Faculty of Biology Professors Debbie Lindell and Yoram Reiter deliver an online seminar discussing what we know about the coronavirus.
Watch video

How Emotions and Stressful Thoughts Affect Your Health: A Conversation With Professor Asya Rolls

Professor Asya Rolls, of the Technion’s Rappaport Faculty of Medicine, talks about her research in understanding how one’s positive thoughts and expectations may impact the body’s ability to fight off germs. In one study, she showed that the release of the so-called “feel-good neurotransmitter” dopamine disabled tumor-promoting cells in the immune system of mice, allowing them to fight cancer.
Watch video

Could a Vaccine for Shrimp Help in the Fight Against COVID-19?: A Conversation With Professor Avi Schroeder

All viruses require certain proteins in order to pass from one cell to another. Stopping the production of those proteins will effectively stop the virus, says Technion Professor Avi Schroeder in this Live from Technion webinar. Prof. Schroeder shared how synthesizing a molecule called siRNA, and using it to replace naturally occurring RNA molecules, has proven effective in stopping the highly destructive white spot virus from passing from one cell to another in shrimp. And how it could be possible to apply the same technology to help in the fight against COVID-19. Professor Avi Schroeder is an associate professor and a member of the Wolfson Faculty of Chemical Engineering at the Technion.
Watch video

Dr. Aviv Censor of Technion Zoom Distance Teaching Solution

The Technion’s Dr. Aviv Censor explains how distance teaching and online lessons with the Zoom platform are being implemented by the Technion during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Watch video

Pooling Method for Accelerated Testing of COVID-19 From Technion

Researchers at Technion and Rambam Health Care Campus have successfully tested a method that will dramatically increase the current COVID-19 testing capacity using existing available resources. This method, known as pooling, enables simultaneous testing of dozens of samples. Its implementation has the potential to greatly accelerate the rate of testing and detection of COVID-19 infected patients in the population. The trial was completed in a matter of days thanks to the support of the Ministry of Health and the close collaboration between Technion and Rambam. Testing for COVID-19 is currently being conducted with the focus on people with specific symptoms. The current rate of testing does not allow for monitoring of asymptomatic carriers in the population, which is vital to curb the epidemic.
Watch video

COVID-19 Lessons to Be Learned From Professor Daniel Orenstein

Technion – Israel Institute of Technology Prof. Daniel Orenstein Head of the Socio-Ecological Systems Research Group in the Faculty of Architecture and Town Planning talks about some lessons that can be learned from the Coronavirus Covid-19 pandemic.
Watch video

Viral Disease Research From Professor Avi Schroeder

Technion-Israel Institute of Technology’s Prof. Avi Schroeder of the Wolfson Faculty of Chemical Engineering discusses new research on viral diseases.
Watch video

From Race Cars to the Lungs | Professor Josué Sznitman

“As a kid, my dream was to found a race car company. I was amazed by their shapes. But beyond beauty, form serves function through the science of aerodynamics. As a scientist today, I discuss how my laboratory is leveraging aerodynamics to explore drug delivery to the lungs and how race cars are my driver for new paradigm shifts in pulmonary therapy.”
Watch video

Technion Biomedical Informatics Research and COVID-19

Technion-Israel Institute of Technology researchers Professor Roy Kishony and Visiting Professor Kira Radinsky discuss big data and biomedical informatics research.
Watch video

Technion, Telehealth, and Telemedicine

Infectious Disease Expert Dr. Yael Shachor-Meyouhas of the Rappaport Faculty of Medicine and attending physician at the Rambam Health Care Campus shares her insights on the COVID-19 pandemic.
Watch video

The Hybrid Approach to Online Learning

Professor Hossam Haick, dean of Undergraduate Studies and a researcher in the Wolfson Faculty of Chemical Engineering, outlines the online or remote teaching solutions that enable students to learn during the shutdown of the Technion because of COVID-19.
Watch video