Beating Zika & Making a Difference, Israeli Biofeed Takes on the Challenge

In Innovation by Sarah Pritzker

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Biofeed is a company with a mission. They’re out to change the world, and they are well on their way towards doing it. Thanks to the Grand Challenges contest hosted in Israel this year, Biofeed has been given 500,000 NIS to continue their research combating the Zika virus. The Aedes aegypti mosquito, the insect responsible for spreading the pernicious virus, has been the subject of the team’s research for some time now, and at last the Israeli corporation is seeing results.

A Global Issue

Zika is commonly misdiagnosed since the symptoms including high fever, rashes, and joint pain, often go unnoticed or misread until later stages. While generally not lethal, the Zika virus is a prolific disease due to its fast and far-reaching method of transmission – the insects bite people and then fly great distances to spread the malady. Aside from being a major discomfort, Zika can cause brain damage to fetuses in-utero and a temporary form of paralysis for the mother. The virus is currently affecting millions of victims across Africa and other poverty-stricken nations. With time though, Biofeed plans to make this problem disappear.

Biofeed to the Rescue

Biofeed is working with a scented poison that will attract and infect these insects, eradicating entire colonies in the process. The substance is perfectly harmless for humans, but it will effectively wipe out these pesky pests.

When asked what the motivation was for such a movement, Mashav, Israel’s agency that deals with International Development Cooperation in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, director Gil Haskel explains, “Much of the world’s population is suffering from lack of food and access to clean water and exposure to diseases. Israeli entrepreneurs have developed technologies that will improve the quality of life for billions around the world.” Biofeed is one of the companies taking these challenges head on.

Making Waves All Over the World

The Grand Challenges contest is helping Biofeed and other innovative companies complete their altruistic missions. The concept behind the initiative is to connect world-changing technological developments with the entrepreneurship to fund their discoveries. It is their hope that these breakthroughs will help make the world a better place, specifically catering their efforts towards global issues that exist in Africa, South America, Asia, and other problem areas throughout the world.

A nationwide initiative, the Grand Challenge has already seen dramatic results. Nine other companies were also given the grant to further their developments within their specific fields. Some of the other Israeli contestants include Amaizz, a company that is helping Kenya solve their crops issues;  FIT, the creators of expanding prosthetic appendages to help ease the adjustment cycle and pain in children with these needs; and Semorex, a research lab conquering cancer by killing off cancerous cells.

This is the second year Israel is participating in a Grand Challenge contest, and governments, entrepreneurs, and organizations alike are all anxious to see what major results will come out of this pint-sized country.

 


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