These included Lady Hardinge Medical College, Ram Manohar Lohia (RML), Lok Nayak, Sir Ganga Ram and Akash Super Specialty hospitals, in addition to a facility run by Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO).
Commander Yaniv Meirman from Directorate of Defense Research and Development (DDRD), Israeli ministry of defence, told TOI that the results were being analysed.
The four technologies being tested include artificial intelligence to identify changes in a patient’s voice, breath analyser test that requires a patient to blow into a tube and it detects the virus using terra-hertz waves, isothermal testing that enables identification of the novel coronavirus in saliva, and another test that detects proteins of the virus collected in a saliva sample.
Meirman said except for the voice test, which they planned to try on 10,000 volunteers, the target for trials of all other tests had been almost completed. “Our aim was to test three technologies on 5,000 volunteers each, which has been nearly achieved. Trials of the voice test are likely to be completed by the weekend,” he added.
All the tests being tried under the Indo-Israel collaborative project can give results within 30 minutes. Also, the concept is such that there is no need for a laboratory set up for sample collection or processing, Meirman stated.
“Some of the tests, for example isothermal testing, can in future be done at home using a self-help kit, like a pregnancy test,” Meirman said. He added that the voice test was also simple and it could be operated using a mobile phone app. “All technologies already had the proof of concept. We are now validating them on volunteers,” the Israeli official added.
The plan is to come up with results of the trial in a few months, following which, depending on the success or failure of the technologies under trial, mass manufacturing and marketing to the world could be discussed. The scientists said it was possible to develop and validate such technology since the entire scientific community was involved, but time was of the essence.
Israeli Ambassador Ron Malka on Friday visited RML Hospital to witness the trials being conducted there since the past three days for rapid Covid-19 testing, a statement issued by the Israel embassy stated. Malka was accompanied by professor K Vijay Raghavan, the principal scientific advisor to Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
Malka said, “If even one of these tests is successful in detecting the virus in less than half a minute, it will be the biggest breakthrough in Covid-19 identification that the world has been waiting for. By combining advanced Israeli and Indian technology and India’s manufacturing prowess, we can find a way to resume our lives and exist alongside the virus till a vaccine is developed.”
The tests have been jointly developed by Israel’s DDRD, India’s DRDO, Council of Scientific and Industrial Research and India’s principal scientific advisor, coordinated by the ministries of foreign affairs of Israel and India.