Saturday, 27 November 2021

Pakistan’s first COVID-19 testing kit approved

CDC via AP, File)

ISLAMABAD: The continuous increase in the number of coronavirus positive cases coupled with the dwindling medical resources have pushed the development of domestically produced testing kits to boost Pakistan’s fight against the pandemic.

The National University of Sciences & Technology (NUST) has received the much-awaited approval from the Drug Regulatory Authority of Pakistan (DRAP) after the successful lab trials of the coronavirus testing kit, N-CovKit, federal minister for science and technology, Fawad Chaudhry, confirmed on Friday.

More tests at less cost

Congratulating the scientists, the minister said the testing kits developed by NUST “will bring significant cost reduction of COVID tests,” in the country and will “save huge import bill.” The indigenously developed kits would soon be available at a lower price as compared to imported ones, according to the official statement.

The young scientists behind the achievement are Associate Professor Dr. Aneela Javed and Assistant Professor Dr. Ali Zohaib of the NUST Atta-ur-Rahman School of Applied Biosciences (ASAB). The two have been working on the diagnostic kit since the pandemic hit the country and announced the development in mid-March.

“Big achievement”

“It’s a big achievement for Pakistani scientists and researchers. Now that the diagnostic testing kit has been approved by the DRAP, we hope it will soon be available in the market,” said Dr Aneela while talking to Gulf News. The long list of required procedures and testing by different companies and health regulators is delaying the immediate availability. The kits will go into mass production by a leading pharmaceutical company as soon as the DRAP gives the nod for commercial production.

The locally developed test kits would significantly increase the testing capacity that has been termed as crucial to track infected people and contain the virus.

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