Islamabad : The Standing Committee on Scientific and Technological Cooperation of Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (COMSTECH) arranged an online seminar titled ‘Pakistan Randomized and Observational Trial to Evaluate Coronavirus Treatment (PROTECT)’ with Prof. Dr. Ghazna Khalid Siddiqui as a main speaker.
Scientists, researchers, academicians and the general public of OIC member states participated in this seminar.
At the outset, she mentioned that they were living in an unprecedented time and have learned a lot in the last three months.
She appreciated the technologies that helped people keeping in touch and let the work continue.
Before her presentation, she suggested COMSTECH to strive to become a vibrant OIC forum that be used for knowledge sharing, networking and learning from each other.
She briefed the audience on PROTECT, Pakistan study and mentioned that the Pakistan was the first country to be ready to treat COVID-19 patients with an ethically approved, internationally registered medical treatment protocol ahead of the peak.
She mentioned that the level of the public preparedness for lockdown and intensive care capacity mean that treatment was necessary to prevent spread.
She said that 14 centres nationwide were taking part in this study and 100 patients have already been treated with the PROTECT protocol.
She hoped that PROTECT network would set up Pakistan to be at the forefront of multi-centre health research for drug development post-COVID-19. She disclosed that PROTECT was being extended to other Islamic countries to increase the intellectual influence of Pakistan abroad.
Dr Ghazna mentioned the current progress of the PROTECT study and the challenges which were being faced for conducting it.
Dr M Iqbal Choudhary, while introducing the distinguished speaker pointed out that there was a dire need of capacity building in OIC member states for clinical trials and networking among the experts for sharing knowledge and developing partnerships.
Dr Bilge Sener from Turkey mentioned that currently the same treatment was being practiced, a combination of drugs was used and it was yielding good results.
She suggested that they need to develop new medicines from medicinal plants extracts which she hoped would provide cure to this disease.
Prof. Reza from Iran stressed the need for suggestions to deal with this unexpected novel virus.
He seconded Dr Ghazna’s stance that treating the patients at the early stage gives good results then treating them in serious conditions at later stages.
Replying to a question Dr Ghazna stressed the need for virologists, pointed to look at different aspects of societies and this disease and search for biological agents.
Dr M Iqbal Choudhary, Coordinator General, COMSTECH informed the audience that COMSTECH would soon start the dedicated scholarship programme in virology and asked the participants to identify host institutions in this important field of study.
He further mentioned that COMSTECH website would be a hub of knowledge sharing.
During the deliberations the establishment of a task force on COVID-19 and development of academic linkages for OIC suggested.