Who will win the race for the COVID-19 vaccine? More than 20 candidates are dashing through current trials - though we hope not so quickly that they compromise safety.
Meanwhile, dozens of smaller breakthroughs aim to mitigate the spread of the virus until public health authorities can roll out a vaccine for general use. In this newsletter, let's run down the latest of these innovations from Israel designed to stop the march of the pandemic.
We also want to take this opportunity to wish a happy al-Adha to all our Muslim friends and allies. With recent Toronto vandalism firmly in mind, we stand with you to preserve the sanctity and safety of all places of worship.
Near-perfect fabric combats COVID
Israeli start-up Sonovia expects its anti-microbial fabric to neutralize 99 percent of the coronavirus to which it is exposed.
Third-party test results last month reported a 90 percent success rate in neutralizing the virus. But the company has improved its zinc-coating formulations and expects upcoming tests authorized by the European Union to reflect success near 100 percent.
“The technology is based upon a physical phenomenon called cavitation,” Dr. Jason Migdal, a research scientist with Sonovia, told The Jerusalem Post.
“Sound waves are used to physically infuse desired chemicals onto the structure area of materials, enhancing them with clinically proven antiviral and antibacterial properties,” he said.
Sonovia uses its protective fabric in its signature product, the SonoMask, which is available on the company's website. The reusable mask has been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for non-medical use and is being tested for use as protective equipment for healthcare workers.
Israeli scientists plumb the trash to sanitize hands
When the COVID-19 pandemic first emerged in Israel, a group of scientists soon realized that the country was on its own if it wanted to increase its supply of hand sanitizer. Or more accurately, the country could not manufacture the stuff on its own.
“We were surprised to find out that Israel is still completely reliant on the import of alcohol for the purpose of disinfection. From there, it was a short distance to producing alcohol as a disinfectant in the struggle against corona,” said Professor Hadas Mamane, head of Tel Aviv University’s environmental engineering.
The solution: converting waste into the ethanol required to create the alcohol for hand sanitizers. The ethanol was then transformed into alcohol.
The process, which uses waste types as diverse as hay and paper sludge, counts its ozone pre-treatment of the waste as its chief breakthrough.
“The use of ozone is a simple pre-treatment method that’s easy and cheap to set up and operate, and has many advantages: It’s almost non-polluting, doesn’t require using dangerous substances and can be carried out on a local and global level,” said Mamane.
New book documents Israeli fight against coronavirus
A new book counts down the pivots and innovations in Israel to halt or cure the coronavirus.
Released in July, Tikkun Olam: Israel vs. Covid-19 reports on more than 40 developments from the outbreak of the virus until May.
Highlights include a sticker called Maya that when attached to a surgical mask kills virus nanoparticles; a simple diagnostic kit that should allow people to test themselves for the virus by September; a global hub of pharma R&D data that trains computational models of diseases and is free to all pharma customers globally; and a potential COVID-19 vaccination.