The COVID-19 mutation first discovered in Brazil is known to be particularly contagious, and there are indications it may help the virus evade antibodies produced by the body in an effort to fight infection. It has spread across South America – especially to Uruguay and Peru, which border Brazil.
The new strain is especially rampant in Uruguay, which has been diagnosing between 2,000 and 4,000 new cases of COVID-19 infections per day for the past month, and currently has the second-highest per-capita rate of daily virus infections in the world.
In response to the deteriorating situation in Uruguay, Israel, which leads the world’s fight against COVID-19, and whose citizens and economic activity has largely returned to normal following a swift and effective vaccination drive, has decided to dispatch a delegation of Sheba Medical Center physicians and experts to Uruguay to share knowledge on how to best fight the pandemic.
The medical aid delegation is set to discuss with its Uruguayan hosts a number of complex logistical operations carried out at Sheba Medical Center since the outbreak of the crisis, such as the establishment of a COVID-19 psychiatric ward and a dialysis ward
“There are all kinds of projects that are pretty unique in the world of COVID-19, and we’ll be happy to share with them both the logistic and clinical aspects of them,” explained the delegation head and Director of Sheba’s Unit for Quality and Safety of Care, Amit Gutkind.
The medical aid delegation will remain in Uruguay for a week, during which time it will visit hospitals, enter COVID wards and render assistance to the medical teams. It will also tour the country’s vaccination sites.
“We’re going in order to pass on information on two fronts,” said Gutkind. “One is the issue of treating patients in the intensive care units, and the other is the logistics of supplying vaccinations.”
In addition to sharing knowledge and experience, Sheba Medical Center will donate $200,000 worth of medical equipment, including respirators and monitors, to aid the battle against COVID-19 in Uruguay.
“It is our mission to lend a helping hand to any nation in need of medical assistance,” said Sheba’s Prof. Arnon Afek, Associate Director General of Sheba Medical Center &
Acting Director of Sheba General Hospital, who also invited Uruguay’s doctors and nurses to come to Israel and train with members of the Sheba staff.
Israel has sent missions around the world throughout the pandemic to assist with the COVID-19 crisis. In December 2020, nearly two dozen Sheba medical personnel were sent to Italy to assist in the fight against the country’s second wave.