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May 8, 2021

‘Covid-19 pandemic has exposed flaws in Pakistan healthcare system’

 
May 8, 2021

The Covid-19 pandemic has exposed vulnerabilities and weaknesses of the healthcare system of Pakistan. When the pandemic emerged, the nation was in dire need of developing testing, tracking, and treatment facilities for the sixth largest population.

The National Institute of Virology, established in 2018 in collaboration with the Wuhan Institute of Virology (China), at the International Centre for Chemical and Biological Sciences (ICCBS), University of Karachi, has played a significant role in the national fight against the ongoing pandemic by conducting more than 100,000 coronavirus tests in a few months and many other services.

Director ICCBS Prof Dr M Iqbal Choudhary and COMSTECH coordinator general expressed these views while presiding over a meeting held at the Dr Panjwani Center for Molecular Medicine and Drug Research (PCMD) on Thursday. Prof Choudhary said at this time of national need, several academic and research institutions had moved forward to contribute to meeting the health challenge of unprecedented magnitude. The ICCBS, Pakistan’s premier academic research institute, was a forerunner in this national service, he observed.

Currently, the centre crossed a staggering number of 150,000 PCR-based tests and developed the capacity to conduct over 2,500 tests every day, largest in the country, he said, adding that the chief minister of Sindh was personally monitoring the development of the superlab.

Talking about the importance of genome surveillance, Prof Choudhary said that equally important in controlling of the pandemic was to monitor the changes occurring in this SARS-CoV-2 virus. The nationwide genome surveillance was conducted at Jamil-ur-Rahman Centre for Genomics at the ICCBS, he said.

So far 77 full genomes of SARS-CoV-2 virus were sequenced and globally reported from the genome centre of the ICCBS, he said, adding that so far 350 genetic mutations had been identified by the centre. Researchers at the Dr Panjwani Centre were engaged in high-quality research work on various aspects of pandemic and its treatment.