The laboratory division of the National Institute of Health (NIH) Islamabad on Saturday has begun examining the samples for Coronoavirus after kits (capable to analyse 1000 samples) from Hong Kong have reached the health facility.
Six samples of suspected patients of coronavirus from Karachi, Lahore, and Multan that were awaiting kits containing primers and probes for the diagnosis of the virus have been received by NIH, officials said on Sunday.
“At the moment, we are running controls and are in the process of assay optimization after we got hold of primers and probes from a source yesterday night. From Monday, we would start analyzing the samples for Coronavirus, which we received from different areas of the country”, an official of the NIH Islamabad said.
While tweeting on the micro-blogging website, Twitter, Prime Minister’s Special Assistant on Health Dr. Zafar Mirza has also confirmed that the national health facility centre now has the capability to diagnose Coronavirus.
He also lauded the institute’s leadership and team for their hard work and efforts in his tweet.
194/ Alhamdolilah, as of today we have now capability of diagnosing #Coronarivus in Pakistan. I want to applaud our NIH leadership and team for their hard work in securing the reagent for diagnosing. pic.twitter.com/nb9jll4JwP
— Zafar Mirza (@zfrmrza) February 2, 2020
NIH’s Officials said the samples they had received were either of the Chinese citizens who have traveled to China in January 2020 or the Pakistanis who had just returned from China.
The officials said it would take “24 to 48 hours in analyzing the samples” and to confirm whether “these suspects were infected with novel Coronavirus 2019-nCoV” or not.
The officials further said that the primers and probes they have received were manufactured from Hong Kong while kits containing primers and probes from Japan, were also expected to arrive at NIH on Monday.
The Aga Khan University Hospital (AKUH) of Karachi and Dow University of Health Sciences (DUHS) are also in the process of acquiring primers and probes to examine and diagnose samples for Coronavirus.