- Stressing the importance of technology cooperation, leading Spanish and Italian figures say innovation crucial to beating COVID-19 and saving global health systems.
- North and South American representatives explain immediate medical care remains the urgent priority.
Italian MP, Mattia Mor: “On the government table now are innovations and policies to live with the virus, so that we can reopen factories and also keep people safe.
Spanish Industry & SME Secretary General, Raül Blanco Díaz: “We need partnerships in public and private sectors with other countries now as we cannot provide the solutions by ourselves.”
6 April, 2020, Jerusalem – Founder and Chairman of Jerusalem Venture Partners (JVP), Erel Maraglit, today (Monday) convened the second in a series of emergency ‘wake-up calls’. The discussion brought leaders, including senior Spanish and Italian officials, academics, industry figures, and frontline medical professionals from the US, Latin America, Israel, and around the world to discuss the current global situation in healthcare, and begin looking at economic recovery after the COVID-19 crisis.
Participants included, Erel Margalit, JVP Founder & Executive Chairman; Raül Blanco Díaz, Secretary General for Industry and SME at Spain’s Ministry for Industry, Trade and Tourism; Italian Member of Parliament, Mattia Mor; Prof. Steven Ullman, of the University of Miami; Igor Nogueira Calvet, President of the Brazilian Agency for Industrial Development; Dr. Rotem Naftalovitch of University Hospital, New Jersey; Julie Zahavy of Rambam Hospital, Haifa; Rom Eliaz, CEO of Sonovia; Etal Miller, VP of Stratasys; Prof. Elhanan Bar-On of Center for Disaster Medicine at Sheba Medical Center; Terry Newman, Director of MCC London Group London; Gal Goren, CEO of Temi; Ravit Ram Bar Dea, CEO of Wellbeat; Uri Bettesh, CEO of Datos; Matan Melamed, CEO of ThermoGate.
Erel Margalit, with decades of success in creating multi-disciplinary centers of excellence and business hubs, is now building an international online ecosystem, comprising public and private sectors, academia and business, as well as health and tech sectors, to contribute to the fight against COVID-19.
He opened the call by noting that, “We are having this call today for people to get together and show their innovation so that it can be used by governments, used by hospitals, used by individuals. The world is under attack and the only way to beat this virus is through cooperation and partnerships. We are creating an arena to build connections between the world’s healthcare systems, multinational companies in pharma and medical equipment and Israeli startups – to save health systems that in many places are on the verge of collapse. We need innovation more than ever in this big battle for survival.”
Speaking from Italy, Member of Parliament and entrepreneur Mattia Mor, told participants of his optimism that the worst was behind the citizens of Italy, and explained that the country was now turning to the need to build a strategy for economic rebuilding after the crisis. He said, “Over the last week, numbers of those infected seem to be decreasing. That means that the lockdown which started one month ago is working. Other countries are following the same example.” He stressed, “What we have to do now and what is on the government table, is to put forward innovation and policies to live with the virus, so that we can reopen factories and yet keep people safe. We want to fight the virus but we can’t lock a country for six months or a year. This is a crisis for which we need a solution and for that we are looking towards innovation.”
Raül Blanco Díaz, Secretary General for Industry and SME at Spain’s Ministry for Industry, Trade and Tourism spoke of the great importance the country was placing on building international cooperation to help with the recovery. He noted, “We need to foster partnerships with other countries. We cannot go through what we have been through in recent weeks alone. In order to provide ourselves with what we need to produce in the local industry, we must share knowledge with countries like Israel. It is absolutely necessary now and in the future. We need public-private partnerships and also partnerships with other countries.” He warned however that, “We should not be solely dependent on other countries though.”
Meanwhile, participants from North and Latin America explained that the situation there was still deteriorating and that efforts remained focused on immediate medical care.
Speaking from New Jersey’s University Hospital, Dr. Rotem Naftalovich explained that the situation there continued to be very difficult, and that, “We are seeing the numbers going up every day, including more health workers dying.” Warning that New Jersey was likely to see a similar increase to that experienced in New York, he spoke of his concern that medical professionals were being exposed without the ability to isolate themselves, lest there not be enough doctors and nurses to care for the patients. He said that there was also a lack of protective equipment, and noted, “You get basically one mask a day. We are still too short.” He also spoke of the need to better integrate and build cooperation. “The US healthcare system is extremely fragmented,” he noted, “Most doctors don’t work as employees for a hospital and so it becomes much more difficult to coordinate. The situation is becoming worse and worse. The hospitals are still able to ventilate the patients that need it, but we haven’t been doing any non-urgent surgeries for the past month.”
Speaking from Brazil, Igor Calvid noted the country had seen a high mortality rate – at around 4% – and that the health system faced key challenges including, “Firstly how to increase the health system capacity with masks, ventilators, ICU beds, etc. We have a health industry which needs to extend its production capacity in order to alleviate pressure. Secondly, we need to unify action across states and 5,000 municipalities. Everyone has a degree of power. Thirdly, to find solutions for prevention in poor communities. Income has been severely impacted. At this moment, we need to find solutions to overcome current problems and future problems.”
Addressing the need for emergency care in poorer areas especially, Terry Newman, CEO of the MCC Group, spoke about the dedicated Corona hospitals his company had set up in Peru. He said, “In the immediate period, governments should invest in separation zones for infected people. In the short-medium term over the next months, governments need to create facilities outside of the major population areas, as patients are scared to go to hospitals. In order to do that, they need to start making decisions now. In the medium to long term, a year and onwards, it is now accepted by most decision-makers that more people will die from pandemics than wars. If the purpose of the government is to protect citizens, then policy leaders need to start re-prioritizing. It’s time to treat viruses like a war. Warehouses must be filled with medicines, equipment, not tanks.”
A full video of the webinar can be viewed at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XOjw64Yvrmw&feature=youtu.be
Photo Credits – Eli Mandlebaum
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Jerusalem Venture Partners (JVP), founded and led by Dr. Erel Margalit, is an internationally renowned venture capital fund. JVP has to date raised $1.4 billion across nine funds, and has been listed numerous times by Preqin, and other rankings, as one of the top-ten consistently performing VC firms worldwide.
JVP has built over 140 companies, leveraging a broad network of partners and market expertise to help companies become global market leaders. JVP was recently chosen by New York City and EDC to lead the cyber security cyber hub in NYC. Among the pioneering firms of the Israeli venture capital industry, JVP has been instrumental in building some of the largest companies out of Israel, facilitating 12 Initial Public Offerings on NASDAQ, including CyberArk Software (NASDAQ: CYBR, $4.7 billion mkt. cap.), QLIK Technologies (NASDAQ: QLIK, then $4 billion mkt. cap.) and Cogent Communications (NASDAQ: CCOI, $3 billion mkt. cap.) and more.