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Chinese, Israeli labs team up to build emergency COVID-19 testing facility

Israeli DNA company MyHeritage announced on Friday evening that they will be working with Chinese genomics giant BGI announced to bulid an emergency testing facility which will allow Israel to perform an additional ten thousand coronavirus tests per day.

The lab is expected to be completed by April 9, and after a short while, is expected to double the testing output to around 20,000 tests daily.

An identical lab was set up in just five days by BGI in Wuhan City, the original epicenter of the coronavirus, and another was set up in Shenzhen.

According to MyHeritage CEO and co-founder Gilad Japhet, “BGI will ship to Israel in the coming days an aerial train of equipment including dozens of advanced qPCR corona testing machines – the type of equipment used to detect RNA viruses which allows the detection of even minimal amounts of the virus. The equipment also includes RNA extraction robots and large quantities of relevant equipment.”

In order for the lab to keep up with the tight schedule and start operating by April 9, MyHeritage is preparing to recruit 110 new employees for the lab.

According to Japhet, “Alongside the air train, about 25 experts from China will come to Israel to train us on how to work with the equipment.”

The Chinese team of experts will be exempted from entering isolation as others landing in Israel a required to do, as they are required to come with medical certificates stating that they have tested negative for the virus.