The Shayetet 13 naval commando unit is helping in the IDF’s fight against the coronavirus by developing advanced solutions to compress oxygen.
The famed elite unit, which trains divers and as a result has a great deal of experience in underwater breathing technologies and oxygen tanks, developed a unique method and is playing a key role in the fight against the deadly disease.
The unit's research and development teams, in collaboration with the Health Ministry, Yad Sarah and other organizations, have converted an operational production line into a production line for medical oxygen compression systems.
“Apart from the system’s development and supply, the unit will provide a logistical response and will assist in transporting oxygen tanks as needed,” the IDF said.
Amid fears that the number of patients needing respiratory assistance may exceed the number of respirators available, the Defense Ministry has been working to produce Israeli-developed ventilators with defense companies and start-ups in the country.
Two weeks ago The Jerusalem Post learned that soldiers in the elite General Staff Reconnaissance Unit had been going across the country counting the number of respirators in each hospital or healthcare facility.
On Friday, the Defense Ministry addressed the acute shortage in ventilators in the country and announced that the Directorate for Defense R&D (DDRD) and Elbit Systems set up a serial production line to manufacture thousands of LifeCan One ventilators.
The smart automatic ventilators, which cost around $2,000 per unit, are based on a unique technology developed by LifeCan Medical and will enable medical centers to provide initial stage respiration care to a larger number of patients who suffer from less severe respiratory conditions.
“The national goal is to reach a fully independent production capability supplying thousands of ventilators to Israel's health system,” said Brig.-Gen. (ret.) Dr. Daniel Gold, head of DDRD. “The decision to leverage the impressive capabilities of our defense industry, which is capable of quality production, in record time, of anything, whether it is unmanned aerial systems or ventilators, is paying off and will enable us to reach the goal set.”
The production of the ventilators will be done in two separate facilities in order to provide 3,000 units in a short period of time and ensure production continuity.
Micha Oestereich, CEO of LifeCan told the Post that the company will start to manufacture the ventilators at the Elbit production facilities at the end of Passover and aims to produce 500 units per week.
“We do not manufacture ICU ventilators, but emergency ventilators which support the extensive ones, which are in the ICU, which can cost $150,000. We are not going to replace these ventilators, but we will support them,” Oestereich said.
The automatic ventilators can be operated by paramedics and general practitioners and operated in non-hospital environments.
“When you plan to have thousands of patients unconscious in the hospital and there isn't room in the ICUs, their beds will be in the parking lots. And in these cases our ventilators will be used,” Oestereich said.
“There will not be any case like in Italy where doctors have to give up on a patient because there aren't enough ventilators. I hope that no patient in 2020, in Israel and hopefully all over the world, will be given up on by medical staff.”
The LifeCan ventilators, which will be supplied by Elbit, will be made on one of the company’s production lines, which usually produces bombs and missiles.
Two weeks ago the Defense Ministry said a radar system used by the IDF to secure the country’s borders has been adapted to monitor the vital signs of coronavirus patients.
Two military radar systems, developed by Elbit and Israel Aerospace Industries, have been adapted by the National Emergency Team of DDRD in the Defense Ministry to remotely monitor and measure the vital signs of coronavirus patients using a combination of radar and electro-optical sensors.