The Weizmann Institute of Science is Exploring Ways to Assist With Coronavirus Testing
REHOVOT, ISRAEL—March 17, 2020—In light of the severe constraints in performing a sufficient amount of coronavirus tests in Israel, the Weizmann Institute of Science has decided to contribute significantly to the national mission and use its advanced laboratories to perform coronavirus tests. In parallel, Weizmann Institute scientists are developing an advanced and very efficient testing approach that has a significantly reduced risk.
A few years ago, the Weizmann Institute of Science established the Nancy and Stephen Grand Israel National Center for Personalized Medicine (G-INCPM). The center, located on the Weizmann Institute’s campus, operates, among other things, an advanced, world-class research facility. This laboratory has a number of advanced polymerase chain reaction (PCR) devices that are capable of performing rapid and efficient identification of genes.
During a number of meetings held in recent days, attended by, among others, heads of the National Security Council; Ministry of Health officials; and Prof. Sigal Sadecki, head of public health services, the possibility of operating the Weizmann Institute’s laboratories is being considered in order to significantly increase the amount of coronavirus diagnostic tests able to be performed in Israel.
At the same time, and in coordination with examining these possibilities, Weizmann Institute scientists are developing a new test method that may help with the global fight against coronavirus. This method will be based on a process that involves fewer stages compared to existing tests and, at the same time, greatly reduces the biological risk to which the teams that perform the tests are exposed.
Weizmann Institute of Science President Prof. Alon Chen says: “The Weizmann Institute of Science is an integral part of Israeli society, and we consider it our duty and right to contribute to and help the State of Israel and its nation in dealing with the global coronavirus crisis. During this crisis, we are harnessing our capabilities in basic research and applying them to the benefit of humanity.”
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The Weizmann Institute of Science in Rehovot, Israel, is one of the world’s top-ranking multidisciplinary research institutions. The Institute’s 3,800-strong scientific community engages in research addressing crucial problems in medicine and health, energy, technology, agriculture, and the environment. Outstanding young scientists from around the world pursue advanced degrees at the Weizmann Institute’s Feinberg Graduate School. The discoveries and theories of Weizmann Institute scientists have had a major impact on the wider scientific community, as well as on the quality of life of millions of people worldwide.