Pakistan through its institutions COMSTECH and International Center for Chemical and Biological Sciences (ICCBS) is planning to help the Muslim countries in developing diagnostic kits for COVID-19 as 17 OIC institutions have already expressed their interest in benefitting from the opportunities.
This was stated by COMSTECH Coordinator General Prof. Dr. Iqbal Choudhary while addressing an online meeting with scientists and heads of the virology diagnostic laboratories of OIC institutions network belonging to Saudi Arabia, Indonesia, Azerbaijan, Gambia, Sénégal, Nigeria, Bangladesh, Pakistan, and Egypt.
The meeting was aimed at exploring avenues of intra-OIC collaboration for capacity building of the laboratories.
Prof. Iqbal Choudhary, who is also heading the ICCBS – University of Karachi, told the meeting that, “COMSTECH offers two online training courses in collaboration with the ICCBS-University of Karachi and National University of Science and Technology (NUST), Islamabad this year for building capacities of scientists in testing and developing diagnostic kits for COVID-19.”
COMSTECH has submitted a proposal to Islamic Development Bank to further enhance testing capacities of OIC member states, he said, adding that this proposal aims to enhance testing capacities of the targeted countries but developing RT Loop-mediated Isothermal Amplification (LAMP) and Antibodies based detection kits for the SARS-CoV-2 diagnosis. These kits can be used without sophisticated diagnostic infrastructure, he said.
All participants offered their full support to COMSTECH intra-OIC cooperation initiative for coping with the current and any future pandemics.
The participants of the meeting underlines the importance of assessing the current available facilities, resources and workforce, equipping the labs with minimum standards, supporting technology transfer, training of technicians and ensuring the availability of skilled manpower, and initiating collaborative projects.