Inaccurate samples: Petition against the winner of the test tender at Ben Gurion Airport


Will the system currently being set up to carry out corona tests at Ben-Gurion Airport turn out to be the next failure in the State of Israel’s deal with the corona virus? A petition filed by the company that came in second place in a tender conducted by the Airports Authority (RASHAT) for the construction and operation of the inspection system for those entering and leaving Ben Gurion Airport gates reveals serious allegations against RASHAT, the company that won the tender and the Ministry of Health.

Among other things, a petition filed with the Tel Aviv District Court alleges that the winning company, the Omega Institute for Modern Teaching, based its proposal on cooperation with the Rambam Government Hospital in Haifa, despite the clear provision in the tender terms that the system will not harm its resources. Israel’s nationalities to deal with the virus.

It was further argued that the sampling method of the company, which is different from what is accepted in the world and in Israel, may lead to those who carry the virus in their bodies also receiving a negative result in the test. Another argument is that the pricing, which is three times lower than the next bid in the tender and that submitted by another company in a similar tender conducted by the Ministry of Defense for the IDF, indicates that this is a significant deficit bid, which will ultimately impose additional costs on those at Ben Gurion Airport and the state. The answers, and will make the passengers “hostages.”

Large gaps in the price of tests

At the beginning of last August, the Network published a tender for the management and operation of a system for performing corona tests for passengers. The winner was Omega, the Institute for Modern Teaching, which submitted a bid according to which the price of the corona test for each passenger would be only NIS 45. After that out of seven approaches to the tender, of the international company “Pangia di Dvalio”, was three times higher.

As soon as the results of the auction were announced, Omega’s cheap and surprising offer without a few eyebrows was raised. The winning bid is not only significantly lower than the other bids in the tender, but also much lower than the cost of Corona tests at other airports around the world, and the cost of all the tests that are already taking place in Israel. The tenders committee in the PA also apparently understood that this was a unique proposal, hurried to convene a discussion with Omega representatives to understand the meaning of the bid, but as stated, chose it in any case.

In an administrative petition filed by Pangia through attorneys Eran Bezalel, Hagar Pines and Or Phi-El from the firm of S. Horowitz & Co., one can find answers to the serious questions that arose when Omega won the tender, but also a series of serious allegations that those who came second in the tender Disqualify Omega from casting the lineup.

Among other things, Pangia claims that the method by which Omega is supposed to use the tender for the purpose of taking the samples from the following at Ben Gurion Airport gates is the pooling method, a method designed to lower test costs by combining 8 different samples and conducting one test for each sample. According to this method, only if a positive result is obtained in the unified test, each of the samples is tested separately to locate the subject carrying the virus.

According to Pangia, this is a method that is not effective at all based on the high morbidity data available in the State of Israel – which in recent days have even reached a level of 15% positive results among all subjects. Hence, that statistically one in every 6.6 people tested will be found to be positive for the virus.

But what is even more serious, as is clear from the petition, is that the characteristics of the collection method that combines several tests together, lower the sensitivity of the test in a way that affects the ability to locate the virus carriers. Thus, while those who are currently defined in Israel as borderline positive to Corona, may “miss” in samples that will be tested by the collection method. All this, it is mentioned in the petition, while these are tests that are done in relation to passengers who will be staying in a crowded space, with a high contagion potential.

What is the contribution of Rambam Hospital?

In a reply sent by Omega to the tenders committee, she noted that the collection method is not intended to be the only method by which the tests will be carried out, but according to Pangia it is “an empty statement that has nothing behind it, which was made without any evidence to support it.”

Another serious allegation raised in the petition concerns the involvement of Rambam Government Hospital in the winning bid, despite the ban in the tender conditions to use the already diluted national resources for the establishment and operation of the Ben Gurion Airport testing system. ” “A private body” miraculously “harnesses a public hospital for its commercial offer,” the petition alleges.

And if that is not enough, Pangia claims, then it turns out that the same ministry that is supposed to approve the laboratory when it is established, the Ministry of Health, is also the same entity that is part of the winning bid, being the one that owns Rambam Hospital.

According to Pangia, when she raised the allegations against Rambam’s involvement in the establishment and operation of the corona testing system at Ben Gurion Airport before the tenders committee, she contented herself with “Omega’s occupied explanations, which hid and hid the hospital from the tenders committee.” Is supposed to raise the matter, and did not at all demand the attention of the hospital and the Ministry of Health.

And what are those “occupied and artificial” things, according to the petitioner, that Omega responded to the allegations regarding Rambam Hospital? Omega has stated that it intends to establish a new and independent laboratory at Ben Gurion Airport, which is not part of the national infrastructure resources, and that the workforce will be independent and detached from the national infrastructure system.

Omega further clarified that it does not intend to use Rambam’s existing laboratory, services and equipment, which are public and national resources, and that Omega has contracted with Rambam “… for the purpose of participating in the tender … The tender. “

With regard to this omega of Omega, adopted by the Tenders Committee to the displeasure of Pangia, the petition contends that it is an “evolving and tortuous version, in which there is a built-in contradiction.” Thus, the petitioner explains, if indeed Omega establishes and operates an independent laboratory at Ben Gurion Airport, with Rambam serving as the establishment and operation of the establishment that will be established, national resources may not be used, even if it is only the hospital’s manpower.

“Is it conceivable that the Ministry of Health has resources that do not form part of the State of Israel’s national infrastructure resource for the purpose of the fight against Corona?” Pangia wondered.

On the other hand, Pangia claims that if Omega does not make any use of Rambam for the establishment and operation of the laboratory, it has no choice but to conclude that “Rambam’s presentation as a subcontractor for the purpose of meeting the preconditions was done only ostensibly, so that Omega acquires an invalid advantage. Over the other bidders in the tender. ”

Along with the filing of the petition, the losing bidder in the tender also filed a request for temporary injunctions that would prevent Omega from continuing with the establishment of the laboratory which is due to start operating within 45 days. The Tel Aviv District Court rejected the request, emphasizing that there is a “vital need for the airport system,” and the period of time that elapsed between the publication of the results of the tender and the submission of the petition.

“The plaintiff’s claims have been repeatedly denied”

Omega and the company represented in the proceedings through Adv. Keren Reichbach Segal from the firm Eitan Mehlul Sdot and the Rambam Medical Center, stated: That will serve the pilot population at an equal price per capita. This is a national project. All of Petitioner’s allegations were repeatedly rejected by the Airports Authority’s Tenders Committee and by the Court.

“Omega meets all the requirements of the tender, has won it legally, and presented an established business plan. The claim of ‘use of national resources’ is a populist argument detached from the reality and conditions of the tender. Especially when it comes to building a new laboratory, in a short 45-day period. Millions of shekels, to which hundreds of new workers are currently being recruited. The sampling methods used in the laboratory are the most accepted medical methods in the world, as stipulated in the tender, to the highest standards, and they will be approved by the Ministry of Health. The project is important and they consider themselves committed to public health in its operation. “

The Airports Authority responded: “The court did not accept the petitioner’s request for temporary relief in only one party (theirs) to stop the process of establishing a corona testing system at Ben Gurion Airport. The winning company meets the requirements of the tender and the Ministry of Health’s instructions and the matter is clarified in court. The Corona Laboratory at Ben Gurion Airport will allow the country’s skies to be opened for flights while maintaining the health of the flying public as well as protecting health security. “

No response was received from the Ministry of Health.

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