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March 22, 2020

KU institute helps Indus Hospital increase COVID-19 diagnosis capacity

Karachi

March 22, 2020

The collaboration between the National Institute of Virology at the University of Karachi’s Dr Panjwani Centre for Molecular Medicine & Drug Research and The Indus Hospital (TIH) has resulted in significant improvements in the latter’s capacity to diagnose COVID-19 cases.

According to a statement, the diagnosis capacity of TIH has been tripled due to its collaboration with the virology institute, which has provided four real-time PCR machines and qualified virology experts to the hospital so that working burden of diagnosis could be handled easily.

KU International Centre for Chemical and Biological Sciences (ICCBS) Director Prof Dr M Iqbal Choudhary attended a meeting of virology experts in this regard at the National Institute of Virology, which was attended by senior research officer of the institute Dr Muhammad Rashid, Dr Ammar Ather and other scientists.

“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,” Prof Choudhary said.

He added that a major challenge currently in Pakistan is very limited diagnostic capabilities and the World Health Organisation has declared the timely diagnosis of COVID-19 as a major step in stopping its spread as undetected infected individuals are the biggest source of infecting others.

Due to current health challenges, Dr Panjwani Centre decided to run a major joint operation with the Indus Hospital, the largest charity health establishment of Pakistan and have provided four state-of-the-art RT-PCR machines and trained personnel to the hospital, he said. PCR is the abbreviation of polymerase chain reactions and PCR machines are sophisticated machines on which actual tests of COVID -19 are carried out, he maintained.

Prof Choudhary said: “Indus Hospital is currently the epicentre of all COVID-19 related activities in Sindh, which is the worst-hit province of Pakistan with 65 per cent confirmed cases.”

Through the help of the ICCBS, the current daily testing capacity of the Indus lab has increased from 800 to 2,400 persons, he added. “We think it is an excellent example of a university-based research centre helping the national health care system at the time of national health emergency.”

Prof Choudhary said precaution was the only weapon to fight against the emerging threat of the 2019 novel coronavirus. He said the National Institute of Virology which works under the Dr Panjwani Center was working to produce quality research and researchers who could play their due role in the areas of research and development in the country.

Dr Rashid said people must avoid public gatherings. He said large grocery stores and shopping malls should not be used for shopping and 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 Ather said citizens must take preventive measures that could keep them safe against the deadly coronavirus. He added that the citizens were advised to practise the best hygiene and wash their hands frequently and thoroughly, or use an alcohol-based hand sanitiser if soap and water were not available.