Israeli, Chinese Med-Tech Firms to Set Up COVID-19 Testing Lab in Gaza

Aid Genomics, which specializes in cancer diagnosis and therapy, is partnering with BGI, a leading supplier of COVID-19 PCR tests that can locate viral particles. The CEO of Aid Genomics predicts the lab will be ready to carry out up to 3,000 tests per day

Photo:BGI

Israeli medical company Aid Genomics and its partner, Chinese genome sequencing company BGI, announced August 6 that they are setting up a laboratory in Gaza to conduct testing for coronavirus.

The lab is expected to be able to carry out 3,000 tests daily. Both the Israeli and Palestinian authorities approved the establishment of the facility.

Equipment for the lab will reportedly be sent by plane from China in the coming days, with preparations for the shipment already underway. The companies did not specify when the lab will be opened.   

The lab will cost several million dollars, with Aid Genomics, a Rehovot-based subsidiary of the Aid Group, and Mammoth Foundation, a charity in the Chinese city of Shenzhen, providing the main part of the funding. The i–Future Foundation, the philanthropy arm of Aid Group Chairman Kelvin Wu, committed a donation as well, according to a press release.

The Aid Group has supplied Israel with hundreds of thousands of test kits developed by BGI.  

Snir Zano, CEO of Aid Genomics, said "In the past months, we are working with BGI at full speed to assist as much as we can. To my delight, as an Israeli, our proposal was approved by the Palestinian Authorities and other relevant departments. We have then received calls from various parties around the world to show their support."

"The lab will be a HuoYan Lab Solution and be ready to perform up to 3,000 tests per day," he added.

Aid Genomics specializes in cancer diagnosis and therapy, using advanced technology to provide early detection and thus improve the survival rate and quality of life. It has already been collaborating with BGI for two years in the field of cancer genomics.

BGI is considered among the foremost suppliers of COVID-19 polymerase chain reaction (PCR) tests, which can locate viral particles on a patient. It was one of the first institutes to examine the virus that erupted in the Chinese city of Wuhan. BGI built the first HuoYan Laboratory in Wuhan within five days in February, and then four more in other cities, the press release said.

"The worst of times reveals the best in people, saving lives is of paramount importance", said Ye Yin, CEO of BGI. "We must work together to surmount whatever difficulty that lies ahead."

HuoYan Labs have performed over 500,000 coronavirus tests in China. This testing capability has enabled a fast reaction time and rapid treatment for those found to be infected, even in the incubation stage. Dozens of countries are now said to be seeking the aid of HuoYan Labs.

Kelvin Wu, the Founder and Chairman of Aid Group, said "We are humbled to receive the support from BGI that derived from our two years of continuous R&D collaboration in cancer genomics. When it comes to illness, it is a common challenge to humanity. We are wholeheartedly committed to winning the fight against diseases."