Israel’s Sheba Medical Center , Tel HaShomer, the largest hospital in the Middle East, has launched a pilot program for breakthrough rapid COVID-19 detection tests developed by Newsight Imaging , an Israeli startup.

Sheba’s pilot program will conduct tests using Newsight’s revolutionary spectral device based on its Spectrometer-on-Chip. The device, which is about the size of a computer mouse, can identify and classify evidence of a virus in the body in less than one second, using a sample of fluid (blood serum or saliva sample) inserted into a disposable test cuvette.

This spectral technology for virus detection itself is not the actual innovation, however. The new technological advance is Newsight’s ability to bring an expensive device that typically costs hundreds of thousands of dollars to be implemented in a single cost-effective chip, using an AI algorithm to separate the profile of a human infected with a specific virus, from a human infected with a different virus or from a healthy human.

The device can identify and classify evidence of a virus in the body in less than one second. (Credit: Newsight)

Newsight’s device simultaneously checks 1024 spectral channels, currently in the visible light spectrum of 400–700 nm. During the next few months, the company plans to present a device that will be capable of examining a spectral profile in wavelengths of up to 1100 nm.

Medical experts in the infectious and tropical disease departments at Sheba Medical Center are already working with Newsight. Initial feasibility studies of the device have shown an ability to separate between alpha-coronaviruses (Alpha-CoV) and beta-coronaviruses (Beta-CoV), with an accuracy close to 100 percent, in addition to feasibility studies conducted on blood serum samples of people infected with the Dengue virus, which were found to be extremely accurate.

Newsight and Sheba’s ARC Innovation Center  headed by Dr. Eyal Zimlichman, Chief Medical and Innovation Center at Sheba Medical Center, are planning to establish a joint company that will make these solutions commercially available to the medical community worldwide. “Newsight is another outstanding example of how Sheba’s ARC Innovation Center and the Israeli start-up ecosystem are working in tandem to reinvent existing technology to battle the scourge of COVID-19,” says Dr. Zimlichman.

Newsight Imaging’s previous machine vision chips are already integrated in dozens of different devices and solutions in the automotive, robotics, and advanced industrial manufacturing fields.