As Iran Becomes Ground Zero for Coronavirus Pandemic, Israel Becomes Ground Zero for Cure

A telling lesson on democracies versus theocracies.

On Monday, Iran’s Ministry of Health released new data concerning the coronavirus. It said that 66 people have died from the virus while 1501 have been infected. But given the Health Ministry’s propensity for lying, the figure for those dead and infected is likely much greater.

The rampant spread of coronavirus in Iran was a problem largely the result of the Islamic Republic’s own making. In early February, Iranian officials were aware of a potential problem in the city of Qom, where a shrine holy to Shia Muslims served as a breeding ground for the transmission of the virus. Yet authorities took no action to quarantine the city or even warn residents to take safety precautions. The shrine still remains open to visitors and video has recently emerged showing people licking the shrine.

By the time health officials began taking action, it was a case of too little too late. Iran’s Deputy Health Minister, Iraj Harirchi, downplayed claims made a city lawmaker that deaths from COVID-19 had reached 50 and said that he would resign from his post if that assertion was accurate. A day later, Harirchi became a victim of COVID-19 and was under quarantine but not before he was observed coughing on those adjacent to him during the previous day’s press briefing. Several other Iranian diplomats and parliamentarians have since been infected, and at least two have died including a senior adviser to Iran's Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.

Iran’s bumbling and incompetence in dealing with the health crisis can be attributed to the Islamic Republic’s unwillingness to acknowledge weakness and vulnerability. Its healthcare system is woefully inadequate. There are dire shortages of masks, medicines and testing kits. In the final analysis, the regime’s deceit, incompetence and corruption has spread fear and cost lives.

Iran’s handling of the crisis stands in marked contrast to how its arch nemesis Israel is addressing the issue. While Iranian officials are spewing little else but propaganda, the Israelis are at the forefront of inventing cures and treatments for the coronavirus.

The Migal Research Institute, an Israeli company based in Galilee has announced that they are on the cusp of developing a coronavirus vaccine. The company had been developing a vaccine for coronavirus in chickens and recognized that they could tweak their vaccine to combat coronavirus in humans. According to Migal’s CEO, David Zigdon, a vaccine for humans could be ready in a few months.

In addition to vaccinations, the ability to rapidly test for the presence of coronavirus is critical. To that end, researchers at Israel’s Bar-Ilan University have developed technologies that drastically reduce the time needed to analyze saliva samples for the presence of COVID-19. This technology reduces the time to analyze a sample from an hour to approximately 15 minutes.

Ordinary disposable facemasks cannot block all pathogens because there are openings in the mask. Moreover, they do not kill the pathogens. Two Israeli companies have developed facemasks that can kill the coronavirus. Sonovia, an Israeli startup with labs in Ramat Gan, says it is developing virus resistant masks and textiles by using a nanotechnology process to infuse textiles with antibacterial chemicals.

A second Israeli company, Jerusalem-based Argaman, has developed a reusable, washable, breathable antiviral facemask called Bio-Block. Bio-Block masks kill pathogens going both to the wearer and away from the wearer. Argaman founder and CEO, Jeff Gabbay, says that the product is nearing commercialization. Moreover, Gabbay states that the anti-viral properties incorporated in the masks can also be incorporated in textiles, like hospital towels and gowns.

Finally, the Israelis have developed treatments for those already infected with COVID-19, who often present with respiratory ailments such as pneumonia. CoughSync, which was developed at Alyn Hospital, a Jerusalem pediatric and adolescent rehabilitation facility, is a device that helps pneumonia victims get rid of phlegm. Current methods involve disconnecting the patient from a ventilator and then using a catheter to suction up secretions. This method is not only invasive, it needlessly exposes the healthcare worker to infection. By contrast, the CoughSync device replicates what a cough would do, and this artificial cough removes the secretions effectively in a noninvasive manner.

No one can dispute the fact that since 1948, the democratic State of Israel has, proportionate to its small size, made more positive contributions to mankind than any other nation on the planet. From pharmaceuticals to cyber security, Israeli companies are at the forefront, leading the way. Deprived of natural resources, the Israelis had to be both innovative and resourceful. This has enabled them to maintain their edge over their genocidal enemies despite their enemies’ vast numbers, geography and natural resources.

By contrast, Iran is a large country, with one of the largest natural gas and oil deposits in the world. Despite this, the Islamic Republic, led by an oppressive theocracy, is mired in superstition and medieval backwardness.

This disparity serves to highlight the difference between forward thinking democracies and backward theocracies. While Iran confronts adversity by obfuscation, Israel confronts it by developing solutions. It would be interesting to see if Iran, a fanatical proponent of the anti-Semitic Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions ideology, would be willing to set aside political dogma by purchasing some of these life-saving Israeli products. Sadly, we all know the answer to that question.

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