KARACHI: The Secretary-General, Pakistan Medical Association (PMA) (Centre), Dr S M Qaisar Sajjad, held a recent meeting where he reiterated that the Sindh province urgently needed a state-of-the-art Virology Laboratory. The laboratory would be able to cater various types of viral diseases like the bird flu, Crimean-Congo hemorrhagic fever (CCHF), Chikungunya, Coronavirus, Zika virus, Influenza, Ebola hemorrhagic fever (EHF), dengue fever, and others.
While addressing to the Press, Dr Qaiser Sajjad said that virology laboratory, if set up in Sindh, would provide a full range of diagnostic services for the detection and monitoring of viral illnesses. This would be beneficial especially in both the adult and pediatric populations of the province and also will help cope up with future challenges.
Different types of viral diseases are increasing day by day in the world including Pakistan; therefore, there was an urgent need to establish a virology laboratory equipped with state-of-the-art facilities to avert viral diseases of unknown origins, Qaiser said.
Sajjad informed that at least six people died due to mysterious flu-like virus Coronavirus, and dozens of others have been affected so far. He feared that this flu-like virus could spread in Pakistan as well if preventive measures were not adopted in the country. Pakistani students, traders, and other citizens travelled to China regularly, while Chinese people also visited our country frequently.
Dr Qaisar stated that Karachi was the national economic hub and a melting pot of various peoples and cultures. Owing to increased traveling to and from the city, there was now an increased risk of viral disease prevalence in the megacity.
Dr S M Qaiser further added that virology labs should be established in all provincial capitals where kits should be made available for the detection of viral diseases. The virology labs would also help provide better diagnostic and treatment of viral disease patients. Such laboratories did not only help prepare us to tackle future challenges, but they also guided young doctors in conducting research about serious viral illnesses.
At present, only the National Institute of Health (NIH) Islamabad has diagnostic facilities available at the governmental level. Some private sector hospitals also have various detection facilities for viral diseases, but poor patients are unable to afford the expenses of private health facilities, Sajjad added.
Secretary-General, PMA demanded the provincial governments should establish advance virology labs to prevent the spread of viral diseases, promote research to deal with such diseases, and prepare quality vaccinations to cater to viral diseases in the future.
In response to a question, Qaiser noted that as per his knowledge, a ‘virology lab’ was present in Karachi University; however, it was still not fully functional.