●Operation Breathing Space: India-Israel
•Recently, an Israeli team arrived in India with a multi-pronged mission, codenamed Operation Breathing Space to work with Indian authorities on the Covid-19 response
•India’s Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) and Israel’s defence ministry research and development team are working together to develop four different kinds of rapid testing kit for Covid-19 which can give the result within 30 seconds.
•The tests include an audio test, a breath test, thermal testing, and a polyamino test
•The kits will be jointly developed after trials on Indian Covid-19 patients. The tests have already been tried on a small sample of Israeli patients.
•The Israeli team has brought robotic equipment, and wrist monitors that will help doctors and nurses monitor a patient without increasing risks of infection to themselves.
•The team has also brought 83 advanced respirators to help patients with severe symptoms.
•The success of rapid tests will help India’s overworked health-care professionals, who are experiencing fatigue. It will also help to address the public impatience over the Covid-19 test.
•The quicker test will help authorities to take quicker prevention measures, which will reduce the spread of the virus among people.
•As a vaccine or a cure is not yet visible and the country is gradually moving towards unlocking, it is time the testing should be made available on demand as close to home as possible.
•With most cases turning out to be asymptomatic, wider and cheaper availability of testing must be a thrust area for the government now. Easy, early diagnosis of infections, even when asymptomatic, will go a long way in containment.
• The concerns regarding increased dependence on rapid antigen tests in some places must also be addressed.