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March 26, 2020 8:49 am

Jerusalem Venture-Capital Fund Hosts Virtual COVID-19 Conference for Global Leaders

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Fake blood is seen in test tubes labelled with the coronavirus (COVID-19) in this illustration taken March 17, 2020. Photo: REUTERS/Dado Ruvic/Illustration. – Venture-capital fund Jerusalem Venture Partners (JVP) hosted a virtual conference on Tuesday, gathering global government, economic and tech leaders, as well as Israeli and Italian hospital heads and experts, to share best practices on combating the COVID-19 crisis.

During the meeting, titled “Corona Wake Up Call,” experts shared best practices and methods for using innovation in diagnostics, prevention and treatment of the coronavirus.

According to the JVP press release, discussion addressed the four main challenges at the heart of the debate around the required restructuring and adaptation of public-health systems during times of crisis: developing quicker and more cost-effective diagnosis and prediction tools; advancing remote care mechanisms; promoting treatment and prevention; and using data to provide a business-intelligence system in crisis.

Participants issued a call for proactive synergy among governments and world leaders, including the sharing of data across the globe.

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Erel Margalit, founder and chairman of JVP, said “we are situated in different countries. Let us remember that the only way this is contained is for the leaders to work together to coordinate strategies and best practices between countries. It is the only way to be effective.”

Davide Falasconi, chief innovation officer of Italy, said “we are facing a situation which has never happened before. But it is not only an Italian issue.”

He added that “we are enabling digital services to provide their services for free” for the benefit of companies and residents.

Israel Institute of Biological Research expert Eran Zehavy reported “very encouraging results” in the search for a vaccine.

Dr. Galia Barkai of Sheba Medical Center at Tel Hashomer in Ramat Gan explained how the medical center is harnessing technology “to build a facility with minimal physical contact.”

Executive vice president of the industry and innovation group at New York City’s Economic Development Corporation Lindsay Clinton outlined the situation in New York, now considered to be the center of the pandemic in the United States. “Our priorities are identifying additional hospital and medical space, identifying additional availability of medical supplies and additional staff,” she said, also describing efforts to develop a local ecosystem of decentralized production for face masks, isolation gowns and ventilators.

Dr. Nirav R. Shah of Stanford University called for “21st-century tools” to combat the virus. “We need to do what Twitter did to the news cycle: Make it real time and democratic” so that medical solutions are more widely available and impactful.

The meeting marked the first of a series of virtual events, part of an international online ecosystem that Margalit hopes to continue throughout the fight against COVID-19.

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