Birth of an Idea: Israeli Startup Uses Fertility Software to Fight COVID-19

Tel Aviv company Embryonics will use the artificial intelligence methods it uses to optimize IVF in the fight against the coronavirus.

By Yakir Benzion, United With Israel

An Israeli startup that uses artificial intelligence to optimize in vitro fertilization (IVF) thinks that its technology can be modified to both diagnose and treat people infected with the coronavirus, the Times of Israel reported Sunday.

“We want to see if we can use our technology to help with the treatment, the diagnosis and progress of COVID-19 patients and other diseases,” said Yael Zamir, CEO of Tel Aviv-based Embryonics.

Her two-year-old company developed two computer programs that process massive amounts of data to predict IVF treatment that will give the highest success rate, and a second that uses “deep learning technology” to personalize hormone treatments for IVF patients.

Embryonics says the new field of geometric deep learning “has shown big promise in other areas as it outperforms the classical widely used AI algorithms” and wants to use the tech to predict which patients suffering from coronavirus will need home treatment, hospitalization or even be put on ventilators to help them breathe.

Zamir’s company is using the patient database from Shaare Zedek Hospital in Jerusalem, which treated treated the second-largest number of coronavirus patients in Israel. Using the same methods it applies to IVF, Embryonics will analyze the coronavirus data try and build a new predictive system. The program will analyze patient data including age, location, smoking status and medical history in order predict how the virus will behave in others.

“If patients are similar, we want to team them up and compare data points,” Zamir said. Shaare Zedek will be able to check a new patient and compare what happened to patients that had similar traits and make forecasts and treatment recommendations, the report said.

“We must have collaborations with tech firms” to make much-needed breakthroughs, she said. “We bring our clinical knowledge, and they bring the technology. We are happy to join forces with anyone who wants to, and have very many of these kinds of collaborations.”

Zamir said her firm has been testing its software in Israel and Europe and the results show that the algorithm can “outperform embryologists.”


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Source: United with Israel