May 25, 2003

The MedexTest was originally designed as a non-intrusive instrument for early-stage screening of disorders of the internal organs.A medical device found to be effective in identifying the initial stages of incubation of the SARS virus has been developed by Medex Screen in the Israeli town of Dimona.

The first clinical testing of the MedexTest has been conducted in recent weeks on SARS patients in Singapore’s General Hospital and a medical team at the hospital has been trained to use the device.

“It’s now being used in the Singapore General Hospital in 3 departments – the colon cancer department, the emergency room and the liver department,” Medex’s Zohar Faigenbaum told ISRAEL21c. “When doctors see someone with a normal fever now, there’s panic – our device can quickly identify whether it’s SARS.”

The MedexTest device is able to provide a medical diagnosis in eight to 10 minutes. When the SARS outbreak began, it turned out that Medex device is uniquely capable of identifying the virus in its incubation stages, long before other symptoms (like body heat) indicate the presence of the virus.

Faigenbaum explained that the MedexTest wasn’t developed with SARS in mind. Medex, founded in March 1999 under the auspices of the Industry and Trade Ministry’s technology incubator program, has worked for several years developing its MedexTest device, a non-intrusive instrument for early-stage screening of disorders of the internal organs.

Due to the complexity of internal systems, diagnosing internal organs’ disorders is very difficult and doctors come to a conclusion after their patients have undergone many tests, said Faigenbaum. Moreover, apart from the fact that they are painful and expensive, diagnostic tests are not of high accuracy and doctors’ diagnoses are sometimes incorrect. The MedexTest has been tested in Israeli hospitals over the past year.

“When the SARS virus broke out, we realized that the MedexTest could possibly be of use. So we tested the device on flu patients in Israel, and found that it was identifying the virus in its incubation stage with high accuracy. We sent the information to contacts in Singapore who we have close relations with. They invited us last month to come for a presentation and to conducts some tests,” said Faigenbaum.

Vice president for business development at Medex Screen, Tal Hirshman, told The Marker that Singapore Technology, the country’s largest industrial conglomerate, has proposed joint development of a device for immediate identification of SARS and other diseases without the need for medical professionals. Depending on the results of the clinical testing, Hirshman added, mass production of the device could begin within a month.

The company is conducting talks with the health ministries in China and Taiwan to carry out a similar series of tests in areas afflicted by SARS.

Medex Screen recently signed an agreement with a chain of clinics in the Philippines, in conjunction with local insurance companies, to establish centers for diagnosing an immune system, using the company’s product.

In other SARS-related news, government bodies and public institutions in China have ordered one quarter of a million digital thermometers from an Israeli company, following the spread of the SARS virus. Orders also came from public institutions in Taiwan and other countries in the Far East where the disease has spread.

The Israeli manufacturer is SAAT (System Application of Advanced Technology) and Thermotek is its flagship product. The thermometer is placed on the forehead for five seconds; it beeps and displays the temperature digitally.

The company explains that the huge demand for the digital thermometers is due to new regulations in China that require all factory or office workers to have take their temperature taken when they get to work. Children’s temperature is taken when they enter the classroom, and people are examined in public places.

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Jason Harris

Jason Harris

Executive Director