Photo Credit: MDA spokesman
The coronavirus Drive & Test pilot in Lod.

As part of the fight against the spread of the coronavirus and in order to reduce the time for receiving test results, the Health Ministry and Magen David Adom began pilot Drive & Test complex in Lod in cooperation with the Mehuedet and Clalit HMOs.

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Today, the average time to receive coronavirus test results in Israel is 48-72 hours, depending on the lab’s workload and the number of daily tests. The Health Ministry wants to cut the waiting time to 15 minutes.

The pilot was launched on Wednesday, at the MDA Drive & Test in Lod, with Health Minister Yuli Edelstein and Deputy Health Minister Yoav Kisch on hand. Both men personally pushed the program from the start. MDA, Israel’s national emergency medical and blood services organization, was chosen to set up a dedicated mobile lab at the facility, using technology developed by Sophia Lab, which is affiliated with FinTech (financial technology) groups that have given us, among other things, mobile phone banking and cryptocurrency.

(L-R) Health Minister Yuli Edelstein, Deputy Health Minister Yoav Kisch, and MDA Director General Eli Bin at the launch of the coronavirus Drive & Test pilot in Lod, July 15, 2020. / MDA spokesman

The system introduces an innovative technology combining speed and mobility and can be adapted for use in specific locations that require a more rapid response such as nursing homes, military bases, airports and, of course, your own test results, pronto.

Individuals arrive at to the Test & Drive with a referral from the their physician. They are asked to take two tests – the regular test and another one to be sent to the rapid lab, so the results can be compared eventually.

A dedicated computing platform monitors the tests, decryption times and treatment pace. The tests are forwarded to the Health Ministry where they will be evaluated to determine whether the new technology produces reliable results.

The coronavirus Drive & Test pilot in Lod. / MDA spokesman

MDA Medical Director, Dr. Rafael Strugo said: “We at MDA believe that the cooperation with the Health Ministry and the trial will yield results in the field, shorten the wait times and make the testing process more efficient and simpler for all parties – testers and patients. Rapid results will make it possible to increase the range of tests and thus more effectively track and manage the spread of the virus.”

Health Minister Yuli Edelstein said: “In recent days, we have crossed the 30,000 mark of tests per day, thanks in part to the My Heritage lab which we put into operation. Towards winter, the number of tests must be significantly increased and the time until results reduced. These will help us break the chain of infection. The Ministry of Health is working tirelessly on this.

MDA Director General Eli Bin said: “We congratulate the Health Minister and the Deputy Minister on the start of the trial with the latest technology, which will help all those involved in the mission. Shortening the response time for citizens is an essential part of the national fight against the spread of the Corona virus in Israel. We will continue to be at the forefront of the fight against the spread of the virus, which is currently on the rise. I sincerely hope that the results of the trial will help dramatically reduce waiting times and provide a quick diagnosis for future patients that will also have a positive effect on the entire economy.”

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