In a first, Pakistan has started manufacturing oxygenators that are imperative for the treatment of 80 per cent of COVID-19 patients, Minister of Science and Technology Fawad Chaudhry has reportedly said.
Oxygenators are a simple form of ventilators that help patients who have breathing difficulties.
Furthermore, Pakistan is also making ventilators and N95 masks by using indigenous technology. For the manufacturing of ventilators, the Pakistan Engineering Council received 53 ventilator designs out of which 13 have been shortlisted. Seven have been approved and they are in the last stage of licensing following the European Union (EU) benchmarks.
“In six to seven months, Pakistan will not just have sufficient ventilators to meet local demand but will be in a position to export these lifesaving machines,” the minister has said.
He said that the moment of crisis had made it clear that the role of scientific research and development was underrated in Pakistan during the last decade, adding that it was the only country in the world to cut funding for research and development after 2007 from 0.67 per cent of the GDP to 0.24p per cent.
“Since Pakistan is a major exporter of raw ethanol, an important ingredient in sanitisers and sprays, the Pakistan Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (PCSIR) was tasked to produce sanitisers and disinfectant sprays.
“In two months, Pakistan is not just self-sufficient but is in a position to export these products. The PCSIR now has the capacity to produce 1,000 litres of sanitiser a day, which is available at Utility Stores.” Ziaur Rehman from the PCSIR said.
The School of Biomedical and Engineering and Sciences and Attaur Rehman School of Applied Biosciences, both constituent colleges of the National University of Sciences and Technology (NUST), have also started working on eye-protection shields, personal protection equipment (PPE) and Covid-19 testing equipment according to World Health Organization (WHO) standards.
In addition, NUST is in the final stages of introducing Covid-19 test kits and they will be available in the market within a week. The Drug Regulatory Authority of Pakistan (DRAP) has run clinical trials of the kits and they’re in the last stage of approval.