Genesis Prize funds awarded for innovations to address COVID-19

Genesis Prize funds awarded for innovations to address COVID-19

The Genesis Prize Foundation has announced the winners of a competition held in honor of the 2020 Genesis Prize laureate, human rights advocate Natan Sharansky, to identify the most promising innovations in the fight against COVID-19.

Sharansky, who announced in December 2019 that he, like previous laureates, would donate his $1 million award, used part of the funds to sponsor a competition for Israeli biotech and high-tech companies working to develop solutions for the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of the novel coraonavirus. Launched in partnership with Start-up Nation Central, the competition was judged by a panel that included prominent scientists, medical doctors, and philanthropists.

The ten winners are Kamada, which has manufactured a first batch of its plasma-derived Immunoglobulin G (IgG) product for coronavirus patients; Pluristem Therapeutics, which is developing a novel platform for biological products that can be used to treat COVID; Sight Diagnostics, which is using advanced computer-vision and machine-learning technologies to improve blood diagnostics; K Health, a personalized artificial intelligence-based health assistant; Picodya Technologies, an in-vitro diagnostics (IVD) platform suitable for mass deployment at the point of care; Israel Aerospace Industries, which has developed a model that uses AI, big data, and machine learning to predict the progression of COVID at the population level; Sonovia, the developer of a face mask that has been proven to be more than 90 percent effective against coronaviruses; Biobeat, which is developing a wearable device for continuous, non-invasive, medical-grade monitoring of one's vital signs; MyZeppi, a video-call device designed to reduce older adults' loneliness with video visits that feel entirely real; and EyeControl, a communications solution for ventilated patients in ICUs. The companies have all announced they will donate their funds to Israeli nonprofits working to mitigate the impacts of the pandemic.

"I was selected as the Genesis Prize Laureate a year ago and so much has changed in these twelve months," said Sharansky. "I am grateful to the Genesis Prize for the opportunity to make a meaningful contribution to fighting the pandemic and am heartened by the spirit of humanity and innovation displayed by our high-tech industry. It is the most fundamental Jewish value to help the other — and I call on other Israeli companies to join this effort."

(Photo credit: Genesis Prize Foundation)