Making a Difference – With Your Help

The Weizmann Institute of Science has – in just a matter of weeks – mobilized and redeployed its scientists, laboratories, and expertise to attack the coronavirus from multiple directions, aiming to stop the pandemic in its tracks today and prevent the outbreaks of tomorrow.


There are now more than 65 crucial coronavirus-related projects underway on campus, including global collaborations, as the Institute fights the disease on three fronts: developing vaccines and treatments; creating enhanced testing methods; and tracking and predicting the virus to help manage its spread. Beyond these major areas, the Institute is also examining the impacts of the coronavirus on our lives, such as the increase in stress levels due to isolation and creating online educational programming for children stuck at home.


Identifying Vaccines and Drugs

There is currently no vaccine or drug for COVID-19. Weizmann scientists are working around the clock to change that, from creating new treatments to studying off-the-shelf medications. Vaccine research that was already underway at the time of the outbreak is now being applied to COVID-19; for example, Dr. Ron Diskin, who was studying other viruses transmitted from animals to humans, had developed a method for drawing the virus away so it wouldn’t infect the cell – and is now adapting it to coronavirus.

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New, Improved, Faster Testing

Insufficient testing has been a major contributor to the spread of coronavirus. To fill this need, the Weizmann Institute has quickly converted its high-tech labs into medical facilities capable of testing thousands of COVID-19 samples per day. Meanwhile, Profs. Eran Elinav and Ido Amit created a safer, automated, one-step test that can process tens of thousands of samples at a time – a tenfold increase of current capabilities. In just one week, said Prof. Amit, they built “one of the most sophisticated labs in the world.”

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Tracking, Prediction, and Management

One of the difficulties in fighting COVID-19 has been predicting where outbreaks will occur. Profs. Eran Segal and Benny Geiger created a method called PredictCorona in which questionnaires, filled out by both sick and healthy members of the public, are used to track the development of virus symptoms. Responses are analyzed via Big Data algorithms and artificial intelligence, leading to early identification of viral clusters. Such knowledge enables health authorities to act quickly and slow the spread of the virus.

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