The online genealogy platform MyHeritage has donated 66,000 medical swabs to Israel in a bid to combat the coronavirus. The swabs were initially shipped from the company's supplier in North Carolina and amount to an estimated $10 million in lost revenues, according to a report released by Calcalist on Monday.
The shipment of swabs was expected to arrive in Israel on Monday, said Gilad Japhet, CEO and founder of MyHeritage. Japhet added that he first contacted a salesperson associated with Myheritage's partner lab Family Tree DNA swabs in order to organize the shipment to Israel.
“He said that there was no way of getting them from China at this time, but that he had kept tens of thousands of them for us at his home in North Carolina as an emergency supply,” Japhet said. “I told him this was that emergency and we needed them right away,” Japhet noted, who then got in touch with Israel’s Ministry of Health. The ministry later sent out trucks to pick up the swabs and distribute them as needed.
The rationale for using swabs provided by MyHeritage, according to Japhet, stemmed from the fact that oftentimes, the concentration of the virus can be very small, leading to a need for specialized swabs, which is what the company uses to help people discover their ancestral roots.
MyHeritage is a online genealogy company that headquartered in central Israel. The company allows users to create family trees by accessing and viewing historical records, censuses and burial records, while also providing a genetic testing service for both DNA matching and testing for ancestral background.