Israel pilots instant COVID detection test


By Ben Horodenker

A pilot program has been launched for a rapid COVID-19 detection test, employing a revolutionary device that uses light waves to analyze molecular content. Israeli startup Newsight is collaborating with Sheba Medical Center to identify and classify evidence of coronavirus in the body in less than a second, using a sample of fluid – blood serum or saliva. Concrete results of the trial are expected within the coming months.

Newsight employs spectral technology (using light waves) to develop advanced image sensor chips for 3D machine vision and spectral analysis. The sensors have been integrated in dozens of devices and solutions in various fields including robotics and automotive industrial manufacturing. The use of spectral technology to detect the presence of pathogens is not new, but to date, has necessitated a cumbersome, costly device. The new innovation being piloted with Sheba involves a  cost-effective chip.

Experts from Sheba’s Infectious and Tropical Disease departments are already working with Newsight. Initial studies of the device’s ability to identify the coronavirus has shown an accuracy of close to 100%. Newsight and Sheba’s ARC Innovation Center intend to establish a joint company that will make the instant COVID detection test commercially available to the medical community worldwide.

“Newsight is yet another outstanding example of how ARC@Sheba Medical Center and the Israeli start-up ecosystem are working in tandem to reinvent existing technology to battle the scourge of COVID-19,” said Dr. Eyal Zimlichman, Chief Medical and Innovation Center at Sheba.

Sheba Medical Center at Tel Hashomer is the largest medical center in the Middle East. It is the only hospital in Israel that offers treatment for acute care as well as rehabilitation on one campus, and is at the forefront of medical treatments, patient care, research, innovation and education. In 2019 & 2020 Newsweek magazine ranked Sheba as one of the top ten hospitals in the world.

 

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