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National News & Updates
  • Pakistan now among few countries producing their own ventilators: Fawad Chaudhry
    Federal Minister for Science and Technology Fawad Chaudhry said on Sunday that the first batch of ventilators manufactured in Pakistan will be delivered to the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) in the coming week.
  • Opportunities for Increasing Trade of Health-Related Products between UK and Pakistan
    The COVID-I9 pandemic had significant socio- economic fallout for economies around the world. While the world is struggling to cope with the challenge, demand for PPE, notably face masks, ventilators, scrubs, face shields, and variety of medical clothing etc has raised globally as well as in UK to an extraordinary level. Read more..
  • Pakistan exporting COVID-19 equipment worth $100m: Fawad Chaudhry
    ISLAMABAD: Federal Minister for Science and Technology Fawad Chaudhry on Wednesday said Pakistan is exporting COVID-19 equipment worth $100 million, and after the local production of ventilators, the figure will rise further.
  • COVID-19: 4,500 Pakistan healthcare workers to get training
    Islamabad: Pakistan’s Health Services Academy has signed an agreement with the Asian Development Bank (ADB) to boost Pakistan’s COVID-19 response by supporting frontline health workers.
  • PCR (polymerase chain reaction) is the best technique to diagnose coronavirus, an RNA virus, and primers are required for PCR testing. However, primers aren’t synthesised in Pakistan, so the country depends on others for it. Now realising the gravity of the situation, we’re going to buy a system from USA for the very early detection of the virus by developing primers and standardising them
  • Major General Dr Aamer, a public health expert, said the RT-PCR technique converted that RNA into DNA and multiplied it by machine before carrying out several exercises to detect the virus and it’s a highly specialised testing technique, so not all pathological labs could perform the test. The NIH chief said the institute had shifted a state-of-the-art, costly mobile Bio-Safety Level-3 lab to the Pak-Iranian border to handle the deadly coronavirus.
  • Coronavirus testing kits developed by Pakistan's National University of Science and Technology (NUST) have been handed to the Drug Regulatory Authority of Pakistan (DRAP) for final approval.
  • Pakistan Engineering Council (PEC) has developed ventilators, in collaboration with NED and Pakistan Engineering Board, which have been handed over to DRAP. Out of 48 ventilators designs, the innovations of at least 3 scientists are underway at DRAP for approval.
  • PCSIR production of hand sanitizers with banks cooperation
  • China 26 ventilators and 5000 protection equipment
  • Pakistan has ordered nearly around 3000 ventilators from around the world and expects to receive at least 1200 within the next 10 days
  • 50 more ventilators next week, which have been donated by different countries.
  • There are currently 2200 ventilators available in public hospitals for the critically ill patients.
  • Pakistan’s testing capacity has been enhanced from 30,000 to 280,000 and would be further enhanced to 900,000 by mid April.
  • Nearly 20,000 testing kits were dispatched to Sindh province, 5000 to Punjab, 4800 to Balochistan while there are 37,000 kits available to be provided as required and necessary
  • Pakistani officials are hopeful that nearly 100,000 Personal Protective Equipment(PPE) — the key medical gear — would arrive by April 6.
  • Another order of 100,000 PPE sets is expected to arrive by mid April.
  • NDMA is working in close collaboration with NIH to increase the existing number of coronavirus testing labs from 14 to 50 in next 20 days. The new testing labs would be set up in Islamabad, Karachi, Rawalpindi, Muzaffarabad, Mirpur, Rawalakot, Abbotabad, Sargodha, D I Khan, Gujrat and Bahawalpur in Punjab, two more in Sindh and Balochistan each, to cover a wider population
  • NDMA would recruit 100 lab technicians with expertise in molecular biology and will offer 6-month contract to these lab technicians and if the program is successful then it will help overcome laboratories gaps for testing patients.
  • At least 16,700 PPE suits are being delivered to hospitals across the country.
  • All of the 30,000 medical health practitioners working in intensive care unit (ICUs) would be equipped with a complete medical kit by early April. They would each be provided a set of face-shields, goggles, two N95 and 30 surgical masks, hand wash kit.
  • The number of beds in the intensive care unit (ICUs) has been increased to 19,670.
  • The capacity of quarantine facilities has also been enhanced to 162,000 now.
  • Mr Asif Jofa has designed and manufacturing masks, gloves and coats for helath care professionals
  • Dr Tahir Shamsi and his team is working on isolating antibodies from plasma of COVID19 cured patients.
  • A truck full of five ventilators, 2,000 safety apparel, 20,000 medical masks and 24,000 nucleic acid testing kits were sent from Khunjrab Pass to the Gilgit- Baltistan region
  • PCR based testing kits in Indus Hospital with the help of International Center for Chemical and Biological Sciences, , Karachi University.
  • There is need to focus on primary health care centers for effective management of COVID19 instead of big labs or centers.
  • Dr Aneela Javed (NUST) sequenced RNA COVID-19 in NUST (see NCBI, GenBank:MT240479.1)
  • PakVent-1 ventilator has been indigenously developed by NESCOM-Pakistan
  • CoVID mutates quickly region to region, Pakistan has different types than China (not sure of Iran).
  • Sindh Government allows passive immunization via recovery of blood plasma with antibodies from COVID-19 recovered patients [issueisolate only IgG from plasma be used not all plasma which could have negative consequences].
  • A Pakistani startup on Artificial Intelligence (AI), Poulta, has developed a ventilator that has been sent to the Pakistan Engineering Council (PEC) and National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA). The founder and CEO of Poulta, Ali Murtaza Solangi while talking to the media said that while they aren’t a ventilator company and work in improving the poultry farming industry they have created a smart and portable ventilator that could be monitored centrally
  • A scientist from Lahore working on ventilator that can deal 7 persons with one ventilator.
  • Dr Zainab, T et al., PMAS, Rawalpindi, has studied complete genome og COVID-19 virus (GENBANK ID MT262993.1)
  • Professor Dr. Atta-ur-Rahman, Chairman of Prime Minister’s National Task Force on Science and Technology, update about COVID-19 and suggestions:

  • Pakistan needs random testing (50 thousands to 100 thousands)
  • We should focus on accuracy of tests using RT-OCR analysis with suitable kits as per the specification of PCR machine
  • There is a need to increase funding of Ministry of Science and Technology from meager 0.8 billion rupees.
  • HEC could not sustain the research initiatives of Prof Atta when he was Chairman HEC, Pakistan.
  • Ministry of Science and Technology has taken initiative to repair ventilators but we need Technicians to operate this equipment.
  • Chairman, NDMA is importing necessary equipment, masks.
  • A plan is underway to manufacture N-5 masks in Pakistan.
  • It is reported that novel virus COVID-19 interacts with hemoglobin and reduces oxygen carrying capacity (oxy-hemoglobin), i.e., no absorbance of oxygen with hemoglobin and hence offers breathing complications.
  • Pakistan has aggressive form of novel COVID-19 virus but 9 0r 6 mutations have been found in this strain against the Wuhan’s strain.
  • Dr. Javed Akram, Vice-Chancellor of the University of Health Sciences (UHS) in Lahore, a virologist and Chairman Clinical Trial Company, update about COVID-19 and suggestions:

  • Genome sequencing for the coronavirus has been conducted in two separate trials, in Karachi and Lahore.The studies reveal that the virus is mutative, which means that “it can adjust to local conditions” which are slightly different from Wuhan (Professor Dr. Saeed Khan, a virologist at Dow University of Health Sciences (DUHS) in Karachi, and a member of the team). The genetic sequencing of the virus – obtained from a locally-infected 15-year-old boy – by collaborating with the International Center for Chemical and Biological Sciences (ICCBS) in Karachi.  Dr. Akram confirmed that the tests showed that the coronavirus’ strain in Pakistan was mutative but said that it was not “clinically significant (only 3-5 percent mutations).”
  • Two types of coronavirus strains, S-Strain and L-Strain, are spreading around the world.The study shows that the L-strain was derived from the older S-strain. The genetic sequencing shows that the virus was L-strain that is more aggressive and spreads rapidly (Professor Dr. Saeed Khan).
  • We want to develop a vaccine that would be effective for all strains of the virus(Professor Dr. Saeed Khan, DUHS, Karachi).
  • The labs for COVID-19 analysis should be of BSL2+standard and it needs resources to develop such labs.
  • Pakistan has 0.7 per 100 thousand people versus 40 and 11 per 100 thousand in Germany and UK, respectively.
  • A team of 9 PhDs is involved for testing/evaluating N-95 masks after being manufactured under his supervision. An MoU has been signed with a Pharma Company in this regards, and other published patents will also help to commercialize our products soon.
  • Professor Dr. Muhammad Mukhtar, Virologist and VC National Skills University, update about COVID-19 and suggestions:

  • Keeping in preview the results of UK, Germany, China and Pakistan, so far 3 types of COVID-19 have been reported.
  • USA has spread of both L and S strains of COVID-19.
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  • It will be very difficult to develop vaccine if it mutates/changes in that environment/location as even we develop we will be unable to treat the patients, i. e., Vaccines target the spikes of Corona, but in case of changes, all efforts will be wasted. ; Alternatives are being explored to combat this issue as there is possibility and hope of vaccine with polyvalent efficacy.  
  • 7 categories of corona virus exists in world including 2 alpha types, 2 beta types, 1 MERS type, 1 SARS type and 1 current novel COVID (SARS-Covid-2) type.
  • So far 115 vaccines have been registered worldwide.
  • Bats possess 89 more COVID type of viruses with similar receptor as yet to inflict Human beings.
  • Funeral of COVID-19 patients should be performed with respect as major cause is sneezing or coughing but adopt precautionary measures.
  • N-95 masks can be used after re-bleaching. N-95 masks should only be used by health care professionals.
  • The running of samples as pooled form will enhance testing capacity in the first stage and positive cases can be isolated in the second step.
  • The world’s biggest medical/drug trial is in progress under supervision of Professor Dr. Muhammad Mukhtar involving 650 patients and Control subjects. The data is being analyzed on day 3, 5 and 7 and results will be shared within 3-7 weeks for public and research community.
  • Dr. Naqeeb Khalid, Founder Bio Data Research, update about COVID-19 and suggestions:

  • The masks N-95 have no expiry concerns.
  • There is need to initiate science programs on all media channels inviting scientists from all all walls of research.
  • The fabric is being imported from China and manufacturing will start soon.
  • Testing-kits have been developed with the team of 3 PhDs and 50-60 thousands kits can be manufactured per month. This kit can be used in any hepatitis testing lab and it will be cost effective as far as sample collection cost is concerned.
  • There is need to give funding to researchers to conduct research on regular basis.
Global News & Updates
  • What is Herd Immunity and How Can We Achieve It With COVID-19?
    When most of a population is immune to an infectious disease, this provides indirect protection—or herd immunity (also called herd protection)—to those who are not immune to the disease. For example, if 80% of a population is immune to a virus, four out of every five people who encounter someone with the disease won’t get sick (and won’t spread the disease any further). In this way, the spread of infectious diseases is kept under control. Depending how contagious an infection is, usually 70% to 90% of a population needs immunity to achieve herd immunity. Read more..
  • UK first to approve oral antiviral molnupiravir to treat Covid.
    Pill can be taken twice daily at home and priority will be given to elderly patients and those with health vulnerabilities.Read more..
  • A Pakistani scientist is said to be the brain behind the five-minute coronavirus test device developed by Abbott Laboratories in the United States last week. Currently based in the US city of San Diego, Jameel Shaikh is said to be from Badh town in the Larkana District in Sindh. He did his matriculation from Karachi’s NJV School, intermediate from Delhi College and graduation from the NED University. US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) had given it emergency authorisation to begin making the test available to healthcare providers as early as next week. Read more..
  • GE Healthcare has teamed up with the Ford Motor Company to scale up its production of ventilators. Read more..
  • In Wales, a ventilator designed by a senior consultant using his military experience is being manufactured by an engineering company. Read more..
  • A breathing aid that could keep patients out of intensive care has also been developed in the UK. University College London engineers worked together with Mercedes Formula One and medical staff at UCLH to build the tech - which delivers oxygen to the lungs without more..
  • A consortium is also working in the UK to produce medical ventilators for the NHS. The 'VentilatorChallengeUK' includes Airbus, BAE Systems, Ford and Siemens. Read more..
  • Other companies also ramping up production include Philips and Medtronic.
  • French sports retailer Decathlon developed the Easybreath mask for snorkelling. But as the coronavirus pandemic took hold, an Italian doctor saw the potential to adapt it for use on critical care wards struggling to cope with an overwhelming number of patients.Read more..
  • Dr Renato Favero contacted Italian 3D printing company Isinnova. Armed with the digital design files supplied by Decathlon, they were able to fast-track a 3D printed valve that allowed the mask to be connected to a traditional hospital respirator. Read more..
  • Step in Copper 3D, a tech company specializing in antimicrobial equipment based in the U.S. and Santiago, Chile. It has released 3D printing files to allow anyone with a printer to make its NanoHack mask, designed to filter out particles that could carry the virus.. Read more..
  • Amazon is going to be working with a new research initiative backed in part by the Gates Foundation that will distribute at-home coronavirus assessment kits, and then deliver the collected samples to FDA-approved test. Read more..
  • Ford, GM and Tesla have been given the “go ahead” to make ventilators to help alleviate a shortage amid the COVID-19 pandemic, President Donald Trump said in a tweet Sunday that ended with a challenge to auto executives to show how good their companies more..
  • GM and Ventec Life Systems partner toramp up production of The partnership is part of, a coordinated effort of private companies to respond to COVId-19. Ventec will use GM’s logistics, purchasing and manufacturing expertise to build more ventilators. GM Chairman and CEO Mary Barra said in a statement that GM is working closely with Ventec to rapidly scale up production. Read more..
  • SpaceX and Tesla are ‘working on’ ventilators, Elon more..
  • Important. Medtronic is sharing its portable ventilator design specifications and code forfree to Medtronic is making available to anyone the full design specifications, produce manuals, design documents and, in the future, software code for its Puritan Bennett (PB) 560 portable ventilator hardware. Read more..
  • Ford and GE Healthcare have licensed a ventilator design from Airon Corp and plan to produce as many as 50,000 of them at a Michigan factory by July as part of a broader effort to provide a critical medical device used to treat people with COVID-19. Read more..
  • 20 Indian institutes working to find Covid-19 vaccine, IITs focused on portable ventilators. Renu Swarup, Secretary, Department of Biotechnology, says govt has received over 7,000 tech-based proposals from private companies and individuals to fight Covid-19. The National Institute of Virology (NIV), Pune, and the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) are among these research institutes. The coronavirus research consortium, which has experts from the ICMR, DBT, NIV, are working to develop a vaccine for Covid-19. Read more..
  • Swarup said IIT-Kanpur and IIT-Roorkee incubation centers are working on making portable ventilators. Read more..
  • Volunteer lab network launches to expand UK Covid-19 testing. The Covid-19 Volunteer Testing Network, started by Systems Biology Laboratory (SBL) founder and serial entrepreneur Mike Fischer, will help small laboratories convert to run antigen testing and identify Covid-19 cases among local healthcare workers. Some of the reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) machines in universityand healthcare settings have already been requisitioned by the UK government, but thousands of small laboratories with the right equipment are not being used. Read more..
  • QIAGEN has received emergency use authorization (EUA) from the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for its QIAstat-Dx Respiratory SARS-CoV-2 Panel test to diagnose patients infected with coronavirus (Covid-19). Read more..
  • According to cybersecurity firm Proofpoint, 80% of scams, hacks and cyberattacks are now coronavirus-themed. Read more..
  • New York’s largest healthcare provider Northwell Health has successfully repurposed the Philips Respironics V60 bi-level positive airway pressure (BiPAP) machine into a functional ventilator for severely ill Covid-19 patients. BiPAP is a non-invasive technique used to maintain a consistent breathing pattern overnight for people with sleep apnea, congestive heart failure or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. Using a small, 3D-printed T-piece adapter, the Respironics V60 can be converted into a ventilator machine. It has also been kitted out with two high-efficiency particulate air filters at both ends of the oxygen hose, to alleviate fears of spreading the virus. Northwell Health will share online the new protocols to convert the BiPAP machine, as well as the T-adapter 3D print design. Read more..
  • Digital hospital start-up Medbelle has launched a sponsorship programme to provide Covid-19 home tests to key workers and people in need in the UK. Read more..
  • A coalition of companies assembled by Stratasys has assembled to 3D-print face shields for clinicians treating Covid-19 patients. The shields consist of a 3D-printed visor and a clear plastic shield that covers the entire face. Any 3D printing shop that wishes to help by printing at least 100 visors can fill out an online form to be invited to join the effort. More than 150 companies and universities have now joined the coalition, Stratasys said..Read more..
  • A collective of UK-based industrial, technology and engineering businesses from across the aerospace, automotive and medical sectors has come together to form the VentilatorChallengeUK Consortium. The consortium, which includes Siemens Healthineers and the Inspiration Healthcare Group, is working to produce a range of ventilator options to tackle the ongoing Covid-19 crisis. The UK government has 8,175 ventilators, but estimates that it may need as many as 30,000 more within the next few weeks as the Covid-19 pandemic peaks. Companies in the consortium have now received formal orders from the government in excess of 10,000 units. Read more..
  • The Royal Mint is to begin mass-manufacturing medical visors for the NHS after developing a successful prototype already in use at The Royal Glamorgan Hospital in South Wales. Read more.
  • Hospitals in Germany and Italy have begun using ExThera’s Seraph 100 Microbind Affinity Blood Filter to treat Covid-19. Seraph 100 is the only haemoperfusion device approved for the reduction of pathogens in a patient’s bloodstream. Clinical results and virus binding studies suggest that the procedure should help in the treatment of Covid-19. Read more..
  • Seqster’s Covid-19 Compass is designed based on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidelines, best clinical practices and illness severity. In addition, the company has taken into consideration risk factors such as age, gender, location, potential exposure and pre-existing health conditions. Read more..
  • CardioQuip has received CE Mark approval for the MCH-1000 Modular Cooler- Heater Series, which is now available to the European healthcare systems dealing with the coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic. The MCH-1000 can be used to regulate patient temperature during different medical procedures, especially those involving the heart and lungs. Read more..
  • Artificial intelligence (AI) supplier discovery platform scoutbee has launched an online service to provide free help to organisations trying to source critically needed medical equipment. Read more..
  • Astrotech is developing BreathTest-1000 to screen for volatile organic compound (VOC) metabolites that indicate infectious diseases, including coronavirus (Covid-19) or the resulting disease, pneumonia. Read more..
  • The UK Defence and Security Accelerator (DASA) has launched an open call for rapid sanitising technology to speed up the time it takes to clean ambulances, as part of the national effort against Covid-19.Read more..
  • The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has granted expanded emergency use authorisation (EUA) for Quidel’s Lyra SARS-CoV-2 Assay for the coronavirus (Covid-19) diagnosis. Read more..
  • British healthtech company Medopad is offering support to the global healthcare sector by providing clinicians with a specialised Covid-19 version of its remote patient monitoring (RPM) platform. The technology will be available for NHS Trusts across the UK as well as global healthcare providers. Read more..
  • ixlayer has adapted its platform to help laboratories and healthcare systems to address the demand for rapid and increased coronavirus (Covid-19) clinical testing. Read more..
  • The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has provided Emergency Use Authorisation (EUA) to PerkinElmer for its New Coronavirus RT-PCR test. Laboratories certified under Clinical Laboratory Improvement Amendments (CLIA) can immediately begin using the test to detect the virus that causes Covid-19. Read more..
  • Biopharmaceutical company Heat Biologics is collaborating with the University of Miami to develop a Covid-19 point-of-care diagnostic kit. Read more..
  • AliveCor’s KardiaMobile 6L technology has received the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approval to measure QTc and detection of potentially dangerous QT prolongation in coronavirus (Covid-19) patients. Read more..
  • US-based women’s health company NxGen MDx has reported an immediate launch of its coronavirus (Covid-19) test to combat the lack of diagnostic test availability for the virus. Read more..
  • India-based Mylab Discovery has become the first company in the country to receive approval for its coronavirus (Covid-19) diagnostic test kits, called reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) tests. Read more..
  • Pharmaceutical giant Roche has called on governments around the world to work closely with the life sciences industry to tackle the Covid-19 pandemic. Read more..
  • Microsoft and Adaptive Biotechnologies have announced they will leverage their existing partnership, mapping population-wide adaptive immune responses to diseases at scale, to study Covid-19. Read more..
  • Medical laboratory company BATM has entered into a partnership with Israeli life sciences firm Novamed for the rapid joint development of a home-use Covid-19 diagnostics kit. Read more..
  • Avellino Lab USA has announced additional production shifts to scale up the manufacturing of the SARS-CoV-2/COVID-19 Test (AvellinoCoV2), its newly developed corona-virus (Covid-19) diagnostic. Read more..
  • Medical technology company Medtronic has increased the production of ventilators by more than 40% due to the global coronavirus (Covid-19) outbreak and to cater to the increase of demands of patients and healthcare systems across the world. Read more..
  • BGI Genomics’ subsidiary BGI Americas has launched its Real-Time Fluorescent RT-PCR test, which detects SARS-CoV-2 virus that causes coronavirus (Covid-19), in the US for clinical use. Read more..
  • Smart manufacturing company Bright Machines has announced it will enable no-cost automation for up to a year for the manufacturing of medical devices essential to the treatment of Covid-19. Read more..
  • The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has granted emergency use authorisation (EUA) for Abbott’s molecular test for coronavirus (Covid-19). Read more..
  • Italian 3D printing start-up Isinnova has saved the lives of ten Covid-19 patients after developing a replacement ventilator valve when supplies at Chiari hospital in Brescia ran dry. However, the firm may now be facing legal action from the manufacturer of the original part, according to Italian newspaper La Stampa. Read more..
  • Vitro-diagnostics company Todos Medical has signed a non-exclusive agreement with China-based cancer precision medicine company 3D Biomedicine Science & Technology for the distribution of the latter’s coronavirus test kits in the US and Israel. Read more..
  • New Jersey-based health network Hackensack Meridian Health’s Center for Discovery and Innovation (CDI) has created a rapid response test for diagnosing Covid-19. Read more..
  • nference has launched a software resource that synthesises disparate single-cell RNA- sequencing (scRNA-seq) data sets to fight the coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic. Read more..
  • The UK’s privacy watchdog approved the use of data from people’s mobile phones to track and monitor behaviour to fight the spread of coronavirus. Read more..
  • A study of 33 newborns born to mothers with covid-19 in Wuhan, China, found that 9 per cent of the infants had covid-19 symptoms but no deaths were reported. It remains unclear whether the virus can transmit from a mother to a fetus during pregnancy. Read more..
  • Maruti Suzuki has decided to manufacture 10,000 ventilators in collaboration with AgVA Healthcare. Read more..
  • Hyundai will import testing kits from South Korea to help 25,000 patients. Read more..
  • Excess testing capacity essential for next pandemic, but cost question not yet answered
  • Noninvasive ventilation options explored for COVID-19, as FDA eases with guidance
  • Novavax coronavirus vaccine, Bellerophon COVID-19 therapy near phase I
  • Other news to note for April 8, 2020
Myths about COVID-19
1. Antibiotics do not work against viruses, only bacteria
2. The new coronavirus (2019-nCoV) is a virus and, therefore, antibiotics should not be used as a means of prevention or treatment.
3. The new coronavirus cannot be transmitted through goods manufactured in China or any country reporting COVID-19 cases.
4. There is no evidence from the current outbreak that eating garlic has protected people from the new coronavirus.
5. The new coronavirus CANNOT be transmitted through mosquito bites.


Federal Minister for Science and Technology

Humaira Ahmed

Secretary for Ministry of Science and Technology

Prof. Dr. Shahid Mahmood Baig, S. I.

Chairman, PSF

Prof. Dr. Muhammad Akram Shaikh

Director General of PASTIC