As we confront the challenges posed by the novel coronavirus, issues of health—our individual health, the health of those we love, and the health of our community—are uppermost in our minds. Doctors and researchers at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem are working with colleagues in the United States and beyond to defeat the pandemic. Here is a roundup of Hebrew University experts on the coronavirus pandemic:
Professor Yuval Dor from Hebrew University’s Faculty of Medicine shows how the Faculty’s interdepartmental equipment unit transforms into a coronavirus testing center.
Hebrew University’s Dr. Maayan Salton and Dr. Yotam Drier team up to develop coronavirus tests which are more efficient and take less time and reagents.
Hebrew University’s Dr. Oren Parna’s lab studies the immune system, exploring the roles of different white blood and how they deal with bacteria, viruses and cancer. With Dr. Yotam Drier, they are exploring in which tissues and cell types the virus is hiding and replicating before symptoms appear. This incubation time is particularly long for COVID-19.
Hebrew University’s Dr. Michael Berger’s lab focuses on the antiviral immunity mediated by T-cell, and show that T-cell immunity is impaired under low oxygen conditions characterized by patients suffering from pulmonary diseases, and are being applied to COVID-19.
Hebrew University’s Professor Rotem Karni’s lab develops molecules that modulate RNA processing as a treatment for cancer and other diseases. Currently they are developing molecules that will target the RNA of the virus, and prevent the virus from multiplying, which will treat the disease following infection.
Late Late Show with James Corden: HU Professor Yuval Noah Harari on COVID-19’s Impact on Humankind
HU Professor Dr. Naomi Habib joins i24NEWS to discuss Hebrew University’s faster, cheaper COVID-19 test.
Hebrew University recently launched a webinar series featuring HU professors on a variety of subjects relating to the COVID-19 pandemic. To view recordings of the webinars, check out our YouTube playlist.
August 4, 2020
New York Times: When Covid Subsided, Israel Reopened Its Schools. It Didn’t Go Well
As countries consider back-to-school strategies for the fall, a coronavirus outbreak at a Jerusalem high school offers a cautionary tale.
July 28, 2020
The Jerusalem Post: Coronavirus vaccine: What protection might be available to Israelis soon?
In Israel, the Health Ministry has already signed with two American vaccine makers to be among the first recipients of their vaccines, if they are successful: Moderna, Inc. and Arcturus.
July 27, 2020
Times of Israel: Ministry says pollution is boosting COVID-19 death rate, calls for cleaner air
Report cites studies showing dirtier air leads to more coronavirus deaths, urges banning diesel vehicles from city centers.
July 27, 2020
Israel21c: How Israeli scientists are improving corona testing
From point-of-care kits to mass sampling and breath analysis, Israelis are inventing faster, more accurate tests that could finally let us get to grips with corona.
July 20, 2020
The Jerusalem Post: Coronavirus ‘doubling rate’ drops to every 24 days - Hebrew U.
In a release disseminated to the press on Monday, the university team showed that the doubling rate has dropped to every 24 days; it was around every seven days at the peak of the second wave.
July 14, 2020
Downgrading COVID-19’s Threat to Common Cold Level?
Could a simple drug, that has been on the market for decades, be used to treat COVID-19? A research team led by the Hebrew University of Jerusalem (HU)’s Professor Yaakov Nahmias says that early research looks promising; their findings appear in this week’s Cell Press’ Sneak Peak.
July 14, 2020
Daily Beast: Israeli Data Show School Openings Were a Disaster That Wiped Out Lockdown Gains
Hagai Levine, an epidemiologist at the Braun School of Public Health and Community Medicine of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, and chairman of the Israeli Association of Public Health Physicians, said: “There was no measurable increase in contagion” while the capsules for young children were being tried out.
July 14, 2020
Times of Israel: 25 research projects to whip coronavirus get NIS 9 million in funding
The Council for Higher Education and philanthropic foundations have selected 25 research programs that together will get a total of NIS 9 million ($2.6 million) in grants for their work to help combat the deadly coronavirus.
July 13, 2020
Times of Israel: In 3½ weeks, COVID-19 death risk to rise as hospital care worsens — stats team
Nadav Katz of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem’s Racah Institute of Physics said that if infections spread at current rates, within 24 days there will be more than 1,000 patients in moderate and serious condition, which is “roughly the capacity of our healthcare system.”
July 13, 2020
Times of Israel: Health Ministry chief: Virus testing won’t be reduced, but some may get priority
Amid the rising number of cases, a team of experts from the Hebrew University on Sunday morning presented the government with a grim prediction that a hundred more Israelis will die of the coronavirus by the end of July.
July 12, 2020
Ynet News: srael mulls reopening gyms and pools after claims of arbitrary virus closure
Knesset's Coronavirus Committee set to convene later in the day to approve outline proposed by opposition factions, which says only 2% of all COVID-19 infections are contracted at gyms and swimming pools; 'To shut down a pool during summer is madness,' says one owner
July 10, 2020
YNet News: All hands on deck as Israel battles second coronavirus wave
“The national government reports almost every day with instructions, but they change too fast and too often,” says Dr. Amnon Lahad, chairman of the Department of Family Medicine at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.
July 6, 2020
Israel21c: 13 promising Covid treatments emerging from Israel
In parallel to vaccine research, there’s an urgent need for effective treatments for the respiratory disease caused by the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus.
July 2, 2020
Jerusalem Post: Can Israel learn to dance with COVID-19?
For starters, the number of people being screened for the novel coronavirus worldwide has increased substantially between March and today, according to Prof. Amnon Lahad of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.
June 15, 2020
The Forward: Israel’s schools reopen, then some close, leaving parents flummoxed
Hagai Levine,an epidemiologist and professor of public health at Hebrew University in Jerusalem said that so far, it does not appear that Israeli schools themselves are major centers of infection or spreading of the virus.
May 25, 2020
NBC News: Israel's pandemic response was fast. I worry a rapid return to normal is a mistake.
Dr. Hagai Levine, an epidemiologist, public health physician and faculty member of the Braun School of Public Health and Community Medicine at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem, says there are potential upsides to an approach of a swift return to normal especially if the infection rate in Israel continues to remain low, which so far, it has.
May 21, 2020
Haaretz: 'I'm Optimistic That Coronavirus Will Soon Be Behind Us,' Says Top Israeli Medical Expert
“I’m optimistic that this will soon be behind us,” says Ben-Yehuda, head of the hematology department at the Hadassah Medical Center and dean of the Hebrew University medical school. “I see how the best brains around the world have come together to study this disease..."
May 11, 2020
Global Survey of 4,000 Coronavirus Patients Supports Link Between COVID-19 and Loss of Smell and Taste
A massive, crowdsourced-survey of COVID-19 patients from over 40 countries provides the greatest evidence to date of the link between COVID-19 and the loss of smell, taste, and chemesthesis—the ability to perceive cooling, tingling, and burning sensations from stimulants such as chili peppers and menthol.
May 11, 2020
The Jerusalem Post: Israel grapples with new arrangements as coronavirus lockdown lifts
“The bus stations symbolize the need for professionalism, which is currently lacking,” said Hagai Levine, associate professor of epidemiology at the Hebrew University-Hadassah Braun School of Public Health in Jerusalem, and chairman of the Israel Association of Public Health Physicians.
May 8, 2020
Sports Business Daily: When will sports fully resume? The answer is obvious
The timeframe for finding a remedy has profound implications for team and stadium owners, athletes, and fans all over the world — it also threatens industries that live off sports.
May 4, 2020
Hebrew University Team Teaches an Old Drug New Tricks
"Researchers at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem developed an injectable antibiotic with a new mode of action, which could have a significant impact on the morbidity rate for pandemics such as COVID-19..."
April 23, 2020
The Jerusalem Post: Coping with the COVID-19 Pandemic
“Our present experience is a sober exercise in preparedness, especially if a serious disease such as a variant of Ebola were to emerge in the future. As we are all “in the same boat”, there is now closer international cooperation and sharing of big data.”
April 23, 2020
The Algemeiner: Can IsraeI’s ‘Haredi’ Leadership Learn From Their Mistakes Made During Coronavirus Outbreak?
“Gad Yair, associate professor and chair of the department of sociology and anthropology at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, agreed with Malach. He explained that a main concept in sociology—social capital—involves the functioning of social groups through interpersonal relationships.”
April 22, 2020
NoCamels: As Israel Eases Coronavirus Restrictions, What Could the ‘New Normal’ Look Like?
“Professor Dan Galai, a leading economic expert and the former dean of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem’s School of Business Administration, tells NoCamels that there are people and businesses that will not bounce back easily after we emerge from this crisis. Israel’s unemployment rate is at over 25 percent, with over a million people out of work currently.”
April 20, 2020
Medical Xpress: Social grooming factors influencing social media civility on COVID-19
“A new study analyzing tweets about COVID-19 found that users with larger social networks tend to use fewer uncivil remarks when they have more positive responses from others. The study, which used computer-assisted content analysis, is published in Cyberpsychology, Behavior, and Social Networking. Bumsoo Kim, Ph.D., The Hebrew University of Jerusalem (Israel), is the author of “Effects of Social Grooming on Incivility in COVID-19.”
April 20, 2020
The Washington Post: Singles say they’re better prepared to self-quarantine, but many fear getting shortchanged in medical treatment
“Elyakim Kislev, a sociologist at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, agrees. “Singles might have an advantage in this crisis, but it really depends on how they treat their singlehood,” he said in an email. “I found in my research that those who accept and embrace their singlehood also know how to turn aloneness into solitude instead of loneliness.”
April 14, 2020
The Jerusalem Post: Rothschild Foundation gives NIS 15 mil. to Hebrew U. for COVID-19 research
“Hebrew University President Prof. Asher Cohen noted the effort that is going into coronavirus research, saying that, “since the outbreak of the pandemic, many researchers and laboratories at the Hebrew University have been working tirelessly to develop a scientific solution to the corona challenge. Several of these efforts are already close to market.”
April 13, 2020
Hebrew University Researchers Develop COVID-19 Diagnostic Test that is 10x Faster
“Professor Nir Friedman at Hebrew University of Jerusalem (HU)’s Institute of Life Sciences and School of Engineering and Computer Science and Professor Naomi Habib at HU’s Edmond and Lily Safra Center for Brain Science have developed a faster and cheaper way to test of COVID-19 using materials commonly found in diagnostic labs.”
April 8, 2020
Fox News: Coronavirus social distancing buying valuable time for scientists in hunt for cure
“Effective social distancing is buying valuable time for the medical community in its hunt for a coronavirus cure, according to Isaiah “Shy” Arkin, professor of Structural Biochemistry at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.”
April 12, 2020
Haaretz: Israel’s Lesson From the Coronavirus Crisis: Prevention Is the Best Medicine
“But a crisis is also an opportunity. This crisis is an opportunity to strengthen the public health system, in Israel and worldwide. And it must not be wasted.”
April 9, 2020
Jewish Journal: Experts Say Israel Is Ahead of Curve on Coronavirus
“A team of scientists at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem’s Racah Institute analyzed current data and forecast that 1,000 Israelis will become critically ill from coronavirus by mid-April. As of Tuesday, more than 150 Israelis were listed in serious condition.”
April 10, 2020
Forward: Israeli Haredim, blamed for COVID outbreaks, could see their communities forever changed
“Benjamin Brown, a professor of Jewish thought at The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, says that the coronavirus — and the religious tensions that it has brought — won’t necessarily slow these processes. He predicted that it may actually accelerate them.”
April 10, 2020
Jerusalem Post: Can we both save lives and the economy? Israeli scientists say ‘Yes’
“Can an anti-coronavirus strategy that saves lives and safeguards the economy at the same time be implemented? According to two computer scientists from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, the answer is yes.”
April 6, 2020
BBC Newshour: Do face masks actually work?
Historian Yuval Noah Harari says we have stark choices to make about our post-pandemic future.
April 2, 2020
Jewish News: How Israeli universities are at the forefront of defeating coronavirus
“At the Hebrew University of Jerusalem there are more than 50 projects related to the novel coronavirus ranging from diagnosis to vaccine production to the identification of genetic components impacting the body’s response to the disease.”
April 1, 2020
Times of Israel: Research predicts Israel could see 1,000 serious COVID-19 cases by Passover
“It’s a wake-up call, and we have to listen to it,’ says Nadav Katz of Hebrew University, whose study indicates the lockdown is failing to protect the elderly.”
March 31, 2020
Times of Israel: ‘Science will conquer this’: Inside the race for a coronavirus treatment
“In a small lab on the Givat Ram campus of the Hebrew University in Jerusalem, Professor Shy Arkin and his team of three are “throwing chemicals” at some of the proteins that constitute the coronavirus, hoping that one or more of them will stick.”
March 31, 2020
Times of Israel: High-tech mogul to present pandemic exit strategy to Knesset committee
Mobileye CEO Amnon Shashua and computer scientist Shai Shalev-Shwartz claim their solution can wrap up the current public health crisis in a matter of months
March 31, 2020
ISRAEL21c: 30 Israeli medical tech solutions to fight coronavirus
“As you read below about Israeli medical technologies for the COVID-19 pandemic, remember that each one is about people – people striving to protect themselves, their loved ones and all humankind against this terrible pandemic.”
March 30, 2020
Jerusalem Post: Coronavirus: How to avoid eating all day when confined at home
“However, if treating oneself with a little comfort food can be a good idea in a moment of difficulties, approaching the issue of food and meals with awareness is the key to maintaining a healthy lifestyle, as nutritionist Debra Waldoks, an adjunct lecturer at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, explained to The Jerusalem Post.”
March 29, 2020
Ynet: Clear Cut Separation Strategy Can End Corona Crisis in Three Months, Says Mobileye CEO
“Amnon Shashua, co-founder and CEO of Mobileye, breaks down his exit strategy which separates high and low-risk populations to create herd immunity while allowing the economy to get back on track.”
March 29, 2020
Ynet: New Israeli research says COVID-19 is here to stay
“Prof. Michal Linial, professor of biological chemistry at the university, together with Dr. Dina Schneidman from the Department of Biological Chemistry and the School of Computer Science at the Hebrew University and Postdoctoral Intern Ester Brail, said that each strain of the virus holds different “offensive capabilities” used to bind itself with human receptors, while the method of binding varies from virus to virus.”
March 25, 2020
Christian Science Monitor: In Israel, pandemic tests democracy’s immune system
“Gayil Talshir, a political science professor at Hebrew University, cautions that democracies in crisis need more supervision, including by civil rights organizations and judicial systems, in order to protect the system.”
March 24, 2020
Haaretz: Israel Predicts Up to 40,000 Coronavirus Patients May Die. What if There’s a Way to Avoid This?
“This scenario was drafted by Dr. Michael Assaf and Prof. Yinon Ashkenazy of the Hebrew University’s Racah Institute of Physics. Assaf specializes in statistical physics and particle interactions. This is what brought him to study the lifetime of illnesses – and from there, to draft coronavirus progressions for the Health Ministry.”
March 26, 2020
Haaretz: How to Take Care of Yourself and Your Kids in the Age of Coronavirus
“For her part, Nilly Mor, a child psychologist at the School of Education of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, who specializes in anxiety and depression, says this is a good time for parents to apply the safety instructions given on airplanes: first, place the oxygen mask on yourself and then help your children with their own…”
March 18, 2020
The Algemeiner: Netanyahu Recruits Founder of $15 Billion Start-Up Mobileye to Join Coronavirus Team
Amnon Shashua is a professor of computer science at Hebrew University who founded Mobileye in 1999. The company develops technologies for autonomous vehicles and was acquired by Intel in 2017 for $15 billion, the largest deal of its kind in Israeli history.
March 17, 2020
Times of Israel: Israeli scientist: You’re not going to see millions of people die from COVID-19
“Isaiah (Shy) Arkin is a professor of Structural Biochemistry at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, whose research, among other achievements, has shed new light on the inner workings of viruses. The Times of Israel spoke to him to try to understand more about the coronavirus, how it compares to other viruses, how its spread might stop or be stopped, and how worried humankind should be about it.”
March 18, 2020
ARK Invest: Coronavirus and the Future of Immunotherapy with Prof. Isaiah Arkin
To learn more about this virus and its implications we talked to Professor Isaiah Arkin. He is the Arthur Lejwa Prof. of Structural Biochemistry at Hebrew University of Jerusalem and the former Vice-President for Research and Development at the University whose research has succeeded in shedding new light on the inner workings of flu viruses and in particular how a virus avoids anti-viral therapy.
March 2, 2020
Haaretz: Coronavirus crisis: In touchy-feely Israel, social distancing creates a big challenge
“The mandate to create social distancing challenges Israelis in ways they have never experienced before,” says Gad Yair, a professor in the department of sociology and anthropology at the Hebrew University.
March 16, 2020
Times of Israel: Smokers appear to be at higher risk from coronavirus – expert
Dr. Yael Bar-Zeev, a public health physician at Hebrew University’s Braun School of Public Health and Community Health, wrote, “Here’s what we already know: In a small study of about 80 corona patients, those who smoked were 14 times more likely to have serious illness.
March 15, 2020
Times of Israel: Psychologist: Israel now using ‘national anxiety’ to help fight coronavirus
Hebrew University professor Jonathan Huppert told The Times of Israel that generating anxiety appears to be “part of the goal” of the rulesannounced Tuesday, which told Israelis to stay in their homes as much as possible.
March 17, 2020
Times of Israel: The ‘Big Brother’ surveillance that may put you in quarantine…or keep you out
Yonatan Freeman, an expert in emergency preparedness at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, said that this is realistic, suggesting that by flagging only people who were actually in proximity to each other, surveillance “provides ‘tweezers,’ in order to not require more people in quarantine than necessary.”
March 18, 2020
The Jerusalem Post: Most Israelis say gov’t should aid Palestinians during coronavirus crisis
Almost two-thirds of Israelis (63%) think that Israel should aid the Palestinians during the coronavirus outbreak, according to a study published by the Truman Institute for Peace at the Hebrew University. “A majority of Israelis, even in early post-election days after they’re left bitter and angry, believe that when the need arises, the government must enlist preventative measures with intent to help the Palestinians during the outbreak of the COVID-19 virus,” said Vered Vinitsky-Seroussi, head of the institute.
March 20, 2020
Financial Times: Yuval Noah Harari: the world after coronavirus
Humankind is now facing a global crisis. Perhaps the biggest crisis of our generation. The decisions people and governments take in the next few weeks will probably shape the world for years to come. They will shape not just our healthcare systems but also our economy, politics and culture.