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February 2, 2020

Karachi’s public sector Dow University orders primers for Coronavirus

February 2, 2020

KARACHI: The city's public sector Dow University of Health Sciences (DUHS) has ordered a Korean company to provide it with primers and probes for the detection of novel Coronavirus (2019-nCoV), enabling the health varsity to analyze samples for the novel Coronavirus from the next week, while the National Institute of Health (NIH), Islamabad is also expected to start analyzing the samples for novel Coronavirus from Monday after two shipments of primers and probes from Japan and another country would reach Islamabad on Sunday evening or Monday morning.

“We have ordered a Korean company to provide us with primers and probes for the detection of novel Coronavirus. They would reach the varsity next week, enabling us to diagnose Coronavirus cases in the coming days. We already have the equipment i.e. Reverse Transcription PCR used for the detection of such viruses,” Vice Chancellor, DUHS Prof. Saeed Quraishy told The News on Saturday.

Officials at NIH Islamabad said primers and probes from two different sources including the government of Japan were expected to reach the federal capital on Sunday evening or by Monday and added that after getting hold of the primers, they would begin analysing 2500 to 3000 samples for novel Coronavirus within hours,” Dr. Salman said Chief Public Health, Labs division at the NIH Islamabad. He maintained that they had also requested China and the United States to help them with acquisition of necessary primers and probes.

The doctors at the Aga Khan University Hospital (AKUH) had said on Friday that they would get the primers and probes from the United States by the next week, enabling them to start the analysis. Some other public and private health facilities in Lahore and Islamabad are making efforts to acquire primers for the detection.

Meanwhile, Vice Chancellor, DUHS Prof. Saeed Quraishy told The News that they have established an isolation ward at its Ojha Campus where they would be able to keep 8 to 10 patients if they are confirmed to be afflicted with Coronavirus, where they would remain isolated till recovery. He went on to say that on the request from Sindh health department, World Health Organization (WHO) has provided them with Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) including body overalls, disposable gloves, goggles, facemasks and other protective gear and added that they also had their own stock of personal protective equipment with them. “As we perform several types of organ transplants, we already have a good stock of PPE, adding that they were prepared to deal with suspected patients of Coronavirus in Karachi.

On the other hand, a survey of different markets revealed an acute shortage of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) after the Chinese nationals purchased most of the stock of body overalls, gloves, masks, and goggles in large quantity, putting into jeopardy the health authorities plan to procure them for the local hospitals.