January 4, 2022
Israel’s Ministry of Health takes its Covid-19 wastewater project nationwide
Israel’s Ministry of Health leads national project to identify coronavirus from wastewater using innovative technology
- Over the past two years, several pilot projects led by the Ministry of Health have been implemented in a number of Israeli cities by using breakthrough technology in the wastewater sector, the virology laboratory at Sheba Medical Center and researchers from Ben Gurion University and the Technion – in order to find a systematic solution for identifying coronavirus from wastewater to protect public health.
- The Ministry of Health and the government are leading the systematic solution for identifying latent morbidity, several days before receiving indications of actual morbidity.
- The Ministry of Health is currently applying the innovative technology, which was developed by Kando, and which makes use of wastewater in a national project, in which hundreds of control units will be deployed throughout the country.
Coping with Covid has moved up a gear and decision makers will soon receive a new tool that will allow them to take swift, optimal decisions based on accurate information. After several successful pilot projects conducted over the past two years, Israel’s Ministry of Health has begun applying technology that represents an innovative solution for monitoring Covid from wastewater. The solution is based on the use of sensors and control units placed in municipal sewage systems with computer analysis, big data and AI, which presents decision makers with relevant insights and warnings. This allows warnings about latent morbidity, and the beginning of a future wave of morbidity, and the discovery of new variants by the geographical identification of the focuses of the outbreak, in a way that allows as far as is possible, security, continued routine, and economic growth and prosperity. The project is being conducted in collaboration with the Ministry of Health, the Virology Laboratory at Sheba Medical Center at Tel Hashomer, Kando, researchers from Ben Gurion University – Profs. Ariel Kushmaro, Nadav Davidovitch and Jacob Moran-Gilad, and Prof. Eran Friedler of the Environmental, Water and Agricultural Engineering Unit of the Faculty of Civil Engineering at the Technion, Israel Institute of Technology.
According to the plan, as part of this project, towns of more than 20,000 people will be monitored twice a week. The solution enables the collection of representative samples in a way that optimizes the potential to locate indications of the virus, according to the viral load in the wastewater, and to monitor the level of the morbidity in a particular area. The samples collected are sent to the laboratories at Ben Gurion University where PCR tests suitable for wastewater are conducted. In the event that the results received are positive, an additional test is carried out to quantify the Omicron variant and other variants. This is a procedure that takes about 24 hours, from taking the sample until receiving the results, and at the end of which a picture of the real situation is received, and a tool that serves in protecting the health of the public.
This project has made the Ministry of Health and the State of Israel into a world leader in coping with coronavirus, by using a national network to identify the virus in wastewater and protect the health of the public, while applying and installing technology that does not disrupt the normal daily routine of the population.
Kando is an Israeli tech company that was founded in 2012, with offices in Tzur Yig’al. The company is headed by cofounder and CEO Ari Goldfarb, cofounder and CRO Zohar Scheinin, and Chief Growth Officer (CGO) Gili Elkin. The technology is based on systems deployed in municipal sewage systems that make use of sophisticated analysis, in order to present relevant insights and warnings to authorities. The company utilizes big data and AI in analyzing the wastewater in order to improve the quality of the environment and the health of the public.