KARACHI: The working capacity of The Indus Hospital (TIH) to make diagnosis of coronavirus (Covid-19) infection has been tripled as the National Institute of Virology, Dr. Panjwani Center for Molecular Medicine and Drug Research (PCMD), University of Karachi joined hands with the hospital. The National Institute of Virology has provided four Real-Time PCR machines and qualified virology experts to the hospital so that working burden of diagnosis could be handled easily. Prof. Dr. M. Iqbal Choudhary, Director of International Center for Chemical and Biological Sciences (ICCBS), University of Karachi stated this on Saturday while speaking at the meeting of virology experts held at the National Institute of Virology. The meeting was also attended by Dr. Muhammad Rashid, senior research officer of the institute of virology, Dr. Ammar Ather and other scientists.
Prof. Choudhary said, “The hospital, which is working in collaboration with the Government of Sindh, was facing immense working-load in the process of diagnosis due to increasing number of coronavirus cases in Sindh.”
Currently, the major challenge in Pakistan is very limited diagnostic capabilities, he said, adding that the WHO has declared the timely diagnosis of the disease as the major step in stopping the spread of COVID-19, as undetected infected individuals are the biggest source of infecting others.
Following current health challenges, Dr. Panjwani Center for Molecular Medicine and Drug Research have decided to run a major joint operation with the Indus hospital, the largest Charity health establishment of Pakistan, and have placed four state of the art RT-PCR machines, and trained personnel at the Indus Hospital Karachi, he said. PCRs (Polymerase Chain Reactions) are the sophisticated machines on which actual tests of COVID -19 are carried out, he maintained.
He said, “Indus Hospital is currently the “epicenter” of all COVID-19 related activities in Sindh, which is the worst hit province of Pakistan with 65 percent confirmed cases.”
Through the help of the ICCBS, the current testing capacity of the Indus lab has increased from 800 to 2,400 daily, he said.
“We think it is an excellent example of a university based research center helping the national health care system at the time of national health emergency.” Prof. Choudhary said that precaution was the only weapon to fight against the emerging threat of the 2019 novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV). He said the National Institute of Virology, which works under the Dr. Panjwani Center, was working to produce quality researches and researchers who could play their due role in the areas of research and development in the country. In the meeting, virology exerts, Dr. Muhammad Rashid said people must avoid public gatherings. He said that large grocery stores and shopping malls should not be used for shopping, open-street shops, where people are not gathered in large numbers are better options for buying groceries. He added that children should not be allowed to go outside as these holidays were announced in case of an emergency, not for a picnic. Dr. Ammar Ather said that citizens must take preventive measures that could keep them safe against the deadly coronavirus. He said that citizens were advised to practice the best hygiene, and wash their hands frequently and thoroughly, or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer if soap and water are not available. PR