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Thursday, July 9, 2020

10 Scientific Miracles in The Fight Against COVD-19

We might be living through a plague, but science is offering modern-day miracles this Passover.

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As families and friends celebrate the Passover Seder, the traditional question, “how is this night different from all others,” is sure to resonate deeply.

This Passover, we’re in the middle of the coronavirus pandemic that is claiming lives and turning our routines upside down. But while many families will observe this holiday of shared experiences from afar and possibly video chat, the rituals remain. We will retell the Exodus story, sing songs, and recount the 10 plagues while hoping for our own miracles.

The Parting of the Red Sea, (Painting: Lidia Kozenitzky)

Here are just 10 solutions that are making a difference.

  1. Professor Hossam Haick, known for his acclaimed breathalyzer technology, is creating a breath test to diagnose asymptomatic coronavirus carriers, and developing an inexpensive patch for the arm or chest that will monitor the virus.
  2. Working in her lab at the Technion, Professor Marcelle Machluf, Dean of the Faculty of Biotechnology and Food Engineering, is repurposing her “nanoghost” technology to trap the coronavirus.
  3. Professor Eyal Zussman created protective stickers, made of a nanofiber that adheres to conventional medical masks to both block and kill the coronavirus. The stickers were created in under a week in Prof. Zussman’s lab and are already approved by Israel’s Ministry of Health for testing.
  4. Professor Josué Sznitman is developing a liquid foam therapy that delivers drugs efficiently to treat acute respiratory distress syndrome, the principal cause of death in coronavirus patients.
  5. Professor Roy Kishony and researchers from the Rambam Health Care Campus have successfully developed and tested a “pooling” method that dramatically increases the ability to test patients for COVID-19.
  6. Diagnostic Robotics, co-founded by a Technon professor and alumni, parlayed its AI-powered predictive technology into a questionnaire that will be used by Israel’s Ministry of Health and HMOs to map the areas that are experiencing a spike in COVID-19 symptoms.
  7. Professor Avi Schroeder is developing a coronavirus vaccine based on a food additive he developed to boost the immunity of shrimp against a deadly virus.
  8. VocalisHealth, founded by three enterprising Technion grads, has joined with Israel’s Defense Ministry to collect voice samples from COVID-19 patients and the general public, hoping to home in on a unique vocal fingerprint of the coronavirus.
  9. Researchers in Professor Alon Wolf’s Biorobotics and Biomechanics Lab built a robot in less than a week that skirts between patients’ beds to bring food and medicine and take simple tests without exposing medical workers to the coronavirus.
  10. Organic chemist Professor Yoav Eichen is developing self-sterilizing coatings for gowns, tents, and face; while Professor Ezri Tarazi is protecting health care workers by producing a mask with a constant airflow that repels virus-laden aerosols from the face.

During this holiday when we celebrate the Jewish journey from slavery to freedom, the new sign at the entrance to the Technion says it all:

Keep calm — Stay at Home! We are working on it!!

 

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