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April 1, 2021 3:36 pm

Israeli Rapid COVID-19 Test Gets EU Nod, With Rollout at European Airports Next

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avatar by Sharon Wrobel

A passenger gets a test, developed by Sheba Medical Center, which takes 15 minutes to deliver results and considered reliable for detecting active coronavirus disease (COVID-19) infection, an El Al spokesman said, before a pilot flight from Israel to New York, at Ben Gurion international airport near Tel Aviv, in Lod, Israel March 8, 2021. REUTERS/Amir Cohen

Israeli startup Newsight Imaging announced Wednesday that its rapid coronavirus screening device SpectraLIT has been granted European approval for commercial use, as it seeks to deploy the test at airports to help fuel a recovery in air travel.

The SpectraLIT device, which produces results within 20 seconds for COVID-19 diagnostic testing, received the “Conformité Européene” (CE-European Conformity) Mark of approval, and can be sold across European Union countries. The test has been developed by Virusight Diagnostic, a Newsight joint venture with Israel’s Sheba Medical Center.

The portable device — a miniature spectrometer operated by artificial intelligence algorithms, and which is about the size of a computer mouse — can identify and classify evidence of a virus in the body using a saliva sample put into a disposable test cuvette. To do the test, individuals gargle with a special mouthwash rinse for the saliva sample. According to initial clinical trials at Sheba, the test has shown to be 95% accurate.

“We are very excited to achieve this important milestone for our SpectraLIT Solution, which, with Virusight’s AI, is actually a diagnosis platform for many potential cases of pathogen diagnosis, able to change the way the world deals with pandemics,” said Newsight Imaging CEO Eli Assoolin. “We are engaged in an intensive effort to achieve more worldwide regulation approvals and to re-validate our solution in over 36 pilot programs around the globe, on all 5 continents.”

Newsight added that the AI software was also “successfully” clinically tested by a US medical institute. Currently, the detection test could be used in labs with trained operators. However, the company intends to sell the solution for any point-of-care or even for at-home testing.

In September 2020, Virusight announced a pilot program for using the test for rapid COVID-19 screening of airline passengers at EU airports. The company has joined forces with ICTS Europe, a leading global security provider at major airports, to implement the testing device and screen millions of passengers. ICTS operates in 23 countries, covering over 120 airports and 300 operation centers across Europe, North America, and the Far East.

“The two companies will strive to cope with the challenge of mass screening of airline passengers, and we are keen on seeing the world of travel getting back to a normal routine,” Newsight’s Assoolin said.

Newsight develops advanced image sensor chips for 3D machine vision and spectral analysis. The startup’s machine vision chips are being deployed in different devices and solutions in the automotive, robotics, and advanced industrial manufacturing fields.

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