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Apex’s first agreement with an Israeli firm — TeraGroup — was concluded last month in Abu Dhabi by Khalifa Khouri, Chairman at Apex, and Oren Sadiy, TeraGroup chairman and chief executive officer. Image Credit: Wam

Abu Dhabi: The UAE is prioritising research in health care as one of the top areas of cooperation with Israel, and Emirati companies have been striking deals with top players in the Western Asian nation since the normalisation of relations.

Among one of the first ventures was a commercial agreement between Emirati firm, Apex National Invesment, and Israeli TeraGroup, with the aim of studying the novel coronavirus and COVID-19.

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Another agreement signed between Group 42, an Abu Dhabi-based artificial intelligence and cloud computing firm that is sponsoring the UAE’s Phase III COVID-19 vaccine trials, and NanoScent, an Israeli firm specialising in scent reading technologies, will leverage non-invasive COVID-19 screening technologies for the UAE.

Medical tourism

While these agreements were signed in August, Israel’s health providers have said this month that they are also expecting an influx of medical patients from the UAE into their top hospitals. As reported in Israeli media, the country’s biggest hospital, the Sheba Medical Centre, has signed an agreement with Apex to facilitate medical care for patients from the UAE.

The director of the hospital’s international division, Yoel Hareven, said these patients would otherwise have been sent abroad to the United States or Europe.

Close to home

“[The treatment of complicated medical cases from the UAE] will have a new solution that is closer than Europe, and cheaper than the United States. It’s welcoming [for patient], as so many medical staff speak Arabic. It can be almost home away from home,” he added.

These treatments in Israel are expected to be facilitated once COVID-19 travel restrictions ease. Hareven also added that Israeli doctors could visit UAE health facilities to share expertise and offer medical care.

COVID-19 research

Meanwhile, Apex’s first agreement with an Israeli firm — TeraGroup — was concluded last month. It in Abu Dhabi by Khalifa Khouri, Chairman at Apex, and Oren Sadiy, TeraGroup chairman and chief executive officer.

“We are delighted with this cooperation with TeraGroup, the first business to inaugurate trade, economy and effective partnerships between the Emirati and Israeli business sectors, which will serve humanity by strengthening research and studies on the COVID-19,” Al Khouri had said.

The agreement between the two companies aims to develop a COVID-19 testing device that will speed up the testing process while also ensuring accuracy.

Apex is an investment company in the field of public investments, including the health care sector, with a focus on establishing field hospitals at maximum speed and equipping them with the necessary equipment. The company also implements the precautionary measures necessitated by the spread of the coronavirus, and gathers data to support COVID-19 vaccine development.

TeraGroup, on the other hand, branched out of the distinguished Weizmann Institute of Science in Israel, and has worldwide investments in R&D. A deep technology company, TeraGroup focuses on fast and safe, one-minute COVID-19 breathing tests using Tera sensing, which guarantee immediate cost-effective results and contribute to the safe return to normal business operations.

TeraGroup’s Biosafety testing is already carried out in selected countries around the world, including the Emirates Field Hospital in Abu Dhabi, and there are plans to expand the testing to cover the entire UAE.

COVID-19 screening

The other UAE-Israel health sector agreement — between G42 Healthcare and NanoScent — aims to leverage a non-invasive, a scent-based COVID-19 screening technology. Executives from G42, the health wing of Group 42, undertook the virtual signing ceremony last month.

“Through this collaboration with NanoScent, we will be adding another powerful solution to our comprehensive diagnostics portfolio, which already includes PCR and LamPORE testing. This partnership also reaffirms the need to tackle the COVID-19 pandemic through a joint global effort in which best-in-breed organisations share their expertise and technologies for the benefit of society,” Ashish Koshy, chief executive officer at G42 Healthcare, had said following the agreement.

Nanoscent says its testing solution can detect suspected COVID-19 cases from a sample of exhaled nasal air. Because of the rapid, non-invasive nature of the Scent Check test, the solution could transform global COVID-19 diagnostics.