President Rivlin calls for further research collaboration amid coronavirus

"I say to the government what it certainly already knows: we have the most wonderful people. Bring them together."

President Reuven Rivlin visits the Hebrew University of Jerusalem June, 21,2020  (photo credit: PRESIDENT RESIDENCE)
President Reuven Rivlin visits the Hebrew University of Jerusalem June, 21,2020
(photo credit: PRESIDENT RESIDENCE)
President Reuven "Ruvi" Rivlin visited the Faculty of Brain Sciences' research center at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem on Thursday.
The Hebrew University recently made headway in the fight against coronavirus, creating a more streamlined system for checking and receiving COVID-19 diagnostic tests, using materials abundant in Israel. So far, the collaborative test effort between the Hebrew University and Hadassah Medical Center have allowed the two entities to perform over 100,000 tests to date.
“We are here today in another very respected institution, an institution of science around the whole world which is researching new ways to deal with this disease which is ravaging humanity. We need each one of those institutions,” said Rivlin.
President Reuven Rivlin visits the Hebrew University of Jerusalem June, 21,2020. (President's Residence)President Reuven Rivlin visits the Hebrew University of Jerusalem June, 21,2020. (President's Residence)
The president also reiterated the need for collaboration between Israeli research institutes to find a vaccine for the coronavirus. He added that he is currently working with the government to "get these organizations working together under a single roof" as the country braces for the possibility of a second wave.
“We need the skills of each one of the labs, and we need to bring them together like a single fist. I have no doubt that the government should set up a body to bring together all the institutions and systems that are working to fight coronavirus," Rivlin said, addressing the researchers. "Combining them is critical, not just in terms of regulation. A merger of this kind could turn the State of Israel into the authority on dealing with the virus, particularly if we have additional waves of the disease ahead of us."
"I say to the government what it certainly already knows: we have the most wonderful people. Bring them together."
While competition drives research, and the president is well aware of that fact, he noted to the researchers, "today I am meeting you – the finest minds at the Hebrew University – and not long ago I met the best brains of the Israel Institute for Biological Research. I have had similar meetings at Ichilov Hospital in Tel Aviv and Soroka Hospital in Be’er Sheva and I have to say to you – you are not each other’s rivals.
"This is not a sprint that you have to win. We are in a marathon and if we don’t all reach the goal, we could find ourselves in big trouble. Support joint research. Only professionals can do that. We will overcome;but let’s do it together. It will certainly be quicker," he added.
In addition to their coronavirus research, the Facutly of Brain Sciences at the Hebrew University also showed off their developing research combating Alzheimer's Disease, among other multi-disciplinary research projects surrounding the use of artificial intelligence and other innovations to combat a multitude of health complications and neurological disorders alike.
“Brain sciences are the research of the future,” said the president. “Brain sciences are a field of research that shows us just how much less we know than is still to be discovered. It is incredible to see how, in the technology age we live in, we have so much more still to learn, so far still to go."
"Coronavirus has taught us a lesson in humility in the last few months. We never thought that in the age of artificial intelligence, robots, that a microscopically tiny virus could get us, but it appears this virus is no less clever than we are," the president concluded. "Your laboratory is an example of excellence in the kind of innovation we need in this field. Multi-disciplinary research is vital to discover the things we can’t even imagine. Throughout history, the Jewish people and the State of Israel have brought values, knowledge and technological innovation. That is our legacy. You are a source of limitless pride for us."