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Israeli hospital partners with National Institutes of Health to study and combat the coronavirus

Workers inside a building at Tel Hashomer Hospital, near Tel Aviv, which was converted to receive the Israelis who were under quarantine on the cruise ship Diamond Princess in Japan due to the spread of the coronavirus, Feb. 20, 2020. (Avshalom Sassoni/Flash90)

BY MARCY OSTER

JERUSALEM (JTA) — A hospital in Israel is partnering with the National Institutes of Health to study and combat COVID-19.

The Sheba Medical Center at Tel Hashomer, near Tel Aviv, said it signed an “emergency agreement” with the Maryland-based NIH to conduct applied scientific and clinical research for treatments in an effort to end the global coronavirus pandemic.

Sheba will supply the NIH’s Vaccine Research Center with blood samples, plasma and the COVID-19 virus itself from infected patients in Israel, as well as all relevant information, through a series of clinical trials the hospital is conducting on treatments from global pharmaceutical companies, as well as its own experimental treatments.

“This is an important achievement for Sheba, as we engage with and assist the NIH, the most important research center in the world, in finding the proper treatments and eventually a vaccine that will rid the world of this pandemic and save millions of lives in the process,” Dror Harats, chair of the Research and Development Division at Sheba, said in a statement.

On Sunday, a nurse who worked at Sheba for 46 years died of the coronavirus, the first Israeli medical professional to die in the pandemic.

Suzy Levi, 65, became ill with the coronavirus a month ago, and was on a ventilator for 28 days before she died, The Times of Israel reported. The Sheba staff held a moment of silence on Monday morning to honor her.