Technion Update: Advancements Against COVID-19

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Technion – Israel Institute of Technology is at the forefront of the fight against COVID-19. Researchers from 50 different labs are developing solutions including vaccine research and therapeutics, personal protective equipment, diagnostics, and assistive technologies for healthcare providers. Despite months of hardship and uncertainty, we have witnessed the power of unity and collaboration. 

“ICU ROOM OF THE FUTURE”

Israel’s Sheba Hospital recently unveiled what they call “the ICU room of the future”. It features many innovative technologies that were developed by Technion alumni including: AnyVision, Vocalis and CLEW Medical. This room maximizes care and comfort while minimizing risk to staff during the Coronavirus pandemic.

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UV LIGHT TO COMBAT COVID-19

Prof. Ido Kaminer

An international team of research scientists, including Prof. Ido Kaminer of the Technion-Israel Institute of Technology, advocate the use of ultraviolet light as a “particularly efficient, easily deployable, and economically affordable” way to inactivate the Coronavirus and reduce transmission in indoor spaces. Their findings were recently published in the journal ACS Nano.

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AN ALGORITHM TO IMPROVE COVID-19 TREATMENT

Assistant Prof. Joachim Behar

Assistant Prof. Joachim Behar, head of Technion’s Artificial Intelligence Laboratory, together with Master’s student Jeremy Levy and doctors from Rambam Health Care Campus, have developed a new set of tools to analyze the data collected by oximeters, which monitor oxygen saturation levels in a patient’s blood. Information gathered by oximeters monitoring patients with COVID-19 could help doctors predict deterioration in a patient’s condition.

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99% ACCURATE RAPID HOME TEST 

Prof. Naama Geva-Zatorsky & Team

Prof. Naama Geva-Zatorsky, of Technion’s Faculty of Medicine, is leading a team of researchers in the development of a home kit that would enable people to be quickly and inexpensively tested for the Coronavirus. Without elaborate lab equipment, it has a 99% accuracy rate based on 200 biological samples from patients affected by the virus. Today, her lab is working on improving its sensitivity for detection in low concentrations.

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SURVEILLING SEWERS FOR COVID-19

Using the Internet of Things (IoT), original algorithms, and artificial intelligence, Israeli startup Kando, Technion-Israel Institute of Technology, and Ben-Gurion University have launched a pilot project to detect traces of the novel Coronavirus in the wastewater of Ashkelon. Kando allows experts to pinpoint specific areas affected by the SARS-CoV-2 virus, enabling responses and potentially avoiding total lock-down in the event of a second wave of the Coronavirus.

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NANOSCENT’S BREATH TEST FOR CORONAVIRUS

Nanoscent is using nano-sensor technology and AI to diagnose patients in half a minute through breath samples. Originally tested by researchers at the Technion and the Rambam Health Care Campus back in March, trials are underway to apply this testing method to drive-through testing clinics across Israel. In addition, Magen David Adom has started using the technology at their testing stations, as have Tel Aviv Medical Center and Poriya Medical Center. Co-founder and CEO Dr. Oren Gavriely is a Technion alumnus.

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BOOSTING MASK EFFECTIVENESS

The unique “Maya” sticker is a 3D-printed sticker, developed by the Faculty of Mechanical Engineering at the Technion-Israel Institute of Technology, led by Prof. Eyal Zussman. The innovative sticker contains nanofibers coated with antiseptics. Stuck onto surgical masks, the team says the sticker significantly upgrades protection, and is able to capture and kill nano-particles of 99 percent of viruses from droplets that reach the mask.  The next step is mass production for hospitals and the public.

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POOLED TESTING ACCELERATES COVID-19 SCREENING

Researchers at Technion-Israel Institute of Technology announced a successful trial of pooling medical samples and performing simultaneous testing for the presence of the Coronavirus in batches of 32 or 64 samples at a time. Now, the test is undergoing final validation and it should be available for widespread use by winter, when the prevalence of other respiratory diseases will make rapid diagnosis of COVID-19 even more critical.

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DIAGNOSTICS ROBOTICS GOES GLOBAL

Diagnostic Robotics Ltd is an AI-based remote screening platform used by Israel to monitor the spread of COVID-19. It has now been deployed globally, including in the U.S., Western Europe, and Asia. Co-founders Jonathan Amir and Dr. Kira Radinsky, and Prof. Moshe Shoham are all Technion alumni. Prof. Shoham also teaches at Technion’s Faculty of Mechanical Engineering and heads the Kahn Medical Robotics Laboratory.

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CORTICA’S TOUCH-LESS TECH FOR A COVID-19 WORLD

Corsight, a subsidiary of the high-tech company Cortica, launched their touchless AI technology globally. Their high-speed AI facial recognition technology helps medical teams access locked areas without removing protective gear. Emerging from research at the Technion, Cortica was founded by Technion Prof. Yehoshua Zeevi and doctoral graduates, Igal Raichelgauz and Karina Ordinaev.

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Technion breakthroughs in COVID research and technologies have been a source of inspiration and hope throughout the pandemic. When you support the Technion       COVID-19 Emergency Research Fund, you contribute to the success stories that will help us overcome this health crisis as quickly as possible.

SUPPORT THE EMERGENCY RESEARCH FUND

Killing COVID with Ultraviolet Light

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Prof. Ido Kaminer

A team of international scientists, including Prof. Ido Kaminer of the Technion-Israel Institute of Technology, studied various methods to prevent coronavirus contagion in indoor spaces. Based on their findings, recently published in ACS Nano, they advocate the use of ultraviolet light as a “particularly efficient, easily deployable, and economically affordable” way to inactivate the virus.

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Tech for N95 Masks

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Prof. Yair Ein-Eli, dean of the Faculty of Materials Science and Engineering at the Technion. Photo: courtesy

Researchers Develop Self-cleaning Face Mask Which Could Kill Coronavirus

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.

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Watch: Dr. Josué Sznitman Virtual Event

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New Hope and Therapeutic Technologies: A Breath of Fresh Air for COVID-19 Patients

On Tuesday, June 2 we had the pleasure of hosting Technion Professor Josué Sznitman for our first national virtual event. 

Dr. Sznitman and his team have developed an innovative technology that could dramatically improve the efficacy of existing drugs for treating Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome. The team’s technology is known as Liquid Foam Therapy (LIFT), and is intended to dramatically improve the distribution of surfactant, the liquid that coats the surface in the lungs. Surfactant reduces the energy required for breathing and the technology could help save the lives of severe COVID-19 patients.

Watch Dr. Sznitman explain this innovative new technology and how it can help save lives.

 

 

Smart Disinfectants: Cleaning for COVID

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Prof. Shady Farah’s lab

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 macro-molecules designed to have long-lasting disinfecting qualities. The antiviral polymers can be used in hospitals, schools, transportation systems, homes, and more, giving an extra layer of protection against COVID-19.

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Touchless Access in a Post-COVID World

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Sonorax CCO Nimrod May

Israeli startup Sonarax is ready for a touchless new world with its ready-to-install ultrasonic data-transmission technology.  In the era of COVID, we are all more of shared touch surfaces such as elevator buttons, ATM touch pads and other buttons touched by multiple people. Sonarax offers a touchless solution based on machine-to-machine technology using sound-waves to transfer data between any devices equipped with a speaker and microphone.

“It all began with Roni Papo, an engineer from the Technion, who had the vision and passion to harness sound-waves in order to deliver data,” says Sonarax Chief Commercial Officer Nimrod May.  “He developed algorithms to send data in small packages over soundwaves.”

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Breakthrough in Microscale Bio-separations from IBM Research and the Technion

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Researchers: Dr. Govind Kaigala, Prof. Moran Bercovici, Vesna Bacheva, Dr. Federico Paratore

Collaborative research between IBM Research and Technion – Israel Institute of Technology has led to a new method for the separation of particles and molecules from small samples, based on their diffusivity, a molecular property which correlates well with size.  The researchers are currently adapting the method for rapid and direct detection of coronavirus from throat swabs.

In a recent paper published in Angewandte Chemie and designated by the journal as a “Very Important Paper,” researchers at IBM Research Europe in Zurich and at the Technion – Israel Institute of Technology presented a new method and device for separation of particles and biomolecules. 

The device makes use of virtual channels, a concept presented by the same team a year ago in a paper published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, wherein unique flow fields can be generated in a microfluidic chamber using electric field actuation.  In their latest findings, the authors used this technology to create bidirectional flows – alternating stripes carrying fluid in opposite directions.  Such a flow field is impossible tocreate using traditional pumps and valves, and when particles are introduced into this flow they behave in a well-explained yet initially non intuitive manner: small particles remain stationary, while large particles flow away quickly. 

“We know that all particles in a fluid move in random directions in a process called Brownian motion” said Vesna Bacheva, a PhD candidate in the Technion Faculty of Mechanical Engineering, and a co-first author of the paper. “This is the same mechanism that allows us to smell a small drop of perfume from across the room – the molecules simply make their way randomly in a process also known as diffusion.  However, small particles diffuse much faster than large ones, and when placed in the bidirectional flow they move across the opposing flow streams very quickly. This makes them move very slightly back and forth but overall – stay in place. Larger molecules or particles diffuse much slower and end up being carried away by the flow.”  The team calls their method BFF, meaning “bidirectional flow filter.”  This separation mechanism was defined by one of the paper reviewers as “a fundamentally significant contribution to the field that only comes along every 10-20 years.”

“It really is very simple,” added Dr. Federico Paratore, postdoctoral researcher at IBM Research in Zurich, who also co-first authored the paper. “Surprisingly, it hasn’t been done so far, most likely because of technological limitations. Whereas developing the concept certainly took time and iterations, with today’s microfabrication capabilities the final device is rather a simple solid-state device that can be produced on a large scale”.

In the paper the team demonstrated the separation of antibodies and particles from small molecules and provided the theory and engineering guidelines for separation of wide variety of biomolecules.   “The reason this might be very useful is because the majority of biological assays rely on a reaction between a probe and the target molecule in the sample, followed by removal of the excess probe molecules that did not find their target. This last step is often very involved and is extremely challenging when the volume of the sample is small,” said Prof. Moran Bercovici.  “Our method does this very well, provided that the two reacting elements are of sufficiently different size.”

The team is currently working to adapt the method for rapid detection of the novel Coronavirus.

Dr. Govind Kaigala explained the concept: “Fortunately, the coronavirus is fairly large – about 100 nm in diameter. This is much larger than antibodies or other probes that can be used to bind to it. Using our method we hope to be able to place a patient’s sample into our chip where it will mix with visible probes, and then see only the viruses flowing out while the unbound probes stay behind.”

This work was funded by the European Research Council (MetamorphChip) and by the BRIDGE program (project 40B1-0_191549), funded by Innosuisse and the Swiss National Science Foundation.

Click here for the paper in Angewandte Chemie

Click here to video explaining the research

Israel at forefront of COVID vaccine research

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Prof. Avi Shroeder

Israeli researchers and universities are among those working on a potential vaccine for COVID-19. According to the World Health Organization, 70 vaccine trials are now taking place around the globe.

This article highlights the 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 Technion Nobel laureate Professor Aaron Ciechanover, Professor Gadi Schuster, and Professor Moshe Shoham.

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Celebrating Israel

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Yom Ha’atzmaut – Israel Independence Day – begins at sundown on Tuesday, April 28th, 2020. 

On on this day, we are filled with gratitude and pride for all that has been achieved in Israel’s 72 years of statehood. For generations,Technion engineers, architects and scientists have played a pivotal role building the infrastructure and high-tech industries of modern Israel – establishing one of the most creative and innovative countries in the world.

Today, Technion and Israel are at the forefront of the worldwide fight against COVID-19 and Israeli innovation is sure to be a critical factor in beating the pandemic.

With your support, Technion will continue to strengthen Israel for generations to come.  HAPPY BIRTHDAY ISRAEL!

18 Incredible Inventions

Discover and share how much value Israel provides the world through groundbreaking achievements with this unique online exhibition “18 Ways Israel is Changing the World”. Featuring Technion DNA; Nanose, Rewalk, Insightec. 

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Collaboration is the Best Weapon

Israel is united in the fight against COVID-19. The Government Companies Authority launched an initiative to form a connection between hospitals, defense companies, and the Ministry of Health to develop new medical technologies to combat Coronavirus.

Discover how the Technion is involved in this powerful collaboration.

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Life Saving Innovation

Ambo-Vent may offer an answer to the global shortage of ventilators in the battle against COVID-19. 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 ventilators quickly and at low cost.

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A New Era

Chemi Peres, son of Simon Peres, shares the powerful story of Israeli innovation and what is next for the Start-Up Nation. He stresses the need for global collaboration to solve world wide crises like the corona virus pandemic and climate change threats. “We are transitioning…to a new era where the source of power, the source of greatness, is coming from brainpower, from the mind.”

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Israel at Forefront of Corona Virus Vaccine Research

Israeli scientists are at the cutting edge of Coronavirus vaccine research. As the World Health Organisation announces 70 trials for a vaccine are ongoing, teams at Technion in Haifa and MIGAL in Kiryat Shmona are among those at the forefront of testing.

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The Technion has been there for Israel since the beginning, and Technion advances in science and technology continue to strengthen the State of Israel and the world. We are stronger together and together we can build a brighter future for us all.  Support Technion now.

SUPPORT THE TECHNION EMERGENCY CAMPAIGN

 

 

 

 

A Cheap, Fast Coronavirus Home Test

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Dr. Naama Geva-Zatorsky

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.

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