UPDATE 1-UAE's G42 Healthcare and Israel's NanoScent sign MOU for COVID-19 screening test

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DUBAI, Aug 19 (Reuters) - Abu Dhabi’s G42 Healthcare has signed a preliminary agreement with Israel’s NanoScent to develop, distribute, and manufacture a test that detects COVID-19 from exhaled air, UAE state news agency WAM reported on Wednesday.

The memorandum of understanding (MOU) is the latest in a series of deals between Emirati and Israeli companies to tackle the pandemic, something the two countries said was a priority in a joint statement last Thursday when announcing a normalising of diplomatic relations.

The test, called Scent Check, will provide results in 30 to 60 seconds, WAM said, adding G42 will undergo thousands of tests for the device in coming weeks.

“The non-invasiveness and the rapidity of results give Scent Check the potential to transform the diagnostics industry globally,” WAM said. The device captures exhaled air, and analyses the “volatile organic compounds” present using machine learning, the statement said.

On Saturday, the Emirati APEX National Investment company signed a “strategic commercial agreement” with Israel’s Tera Group to cooperate on coronavirus-related research and development, including a testing device.

Israel’s Pluristem said on Monday it would partner with Abu Dhabi Stem Cells Center (ADSCC) to develop therapies for diseases including COVID-19.

Prior to the normalisation deal, two state-owned Israeli defense contractors in July announced partnerships with G42 to develop technologies to help fight the coronavirus.

Reporting by Samar Hassan, writing by Nafisa Eltahir, editing by Chris Reese, Kirsten Donovan