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Year : 2020  |  Volume : 5  |  Issue : 3  |  Page : 14

Invited Lecture 11: Pakistan Response to COVID-19: Turning Calamity into an Opportunity The Current State: Challenges Ahead

Ministerial Standing Committee for Science and Technology Cooperation in OIC Countries, 33 Constitution Ave, Islamabad; International Center for Chemical and Biological Sciences, University of Karachi, Karachi-75270, Pakistan

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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/2468-838X.303750

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Brief Biosketch Prof. M. Iqbal Choudhary has done his PhD and D.Sc from the University of Karachi. Prof. M. Iqbal Choudhary is Director ICCBS and Professor of Bioorganic and Natural Product Chemistry. Prof. Choudhary has made pioneering contributions in the discovery of novel natural products since 1990. He has discovered many potent anti-epileptic and anti-leishmanial compounds from indigenous medicinal plants that are under clinical trials. Prof. Choudhary has 1,027 publications (Citations above 23,000, h index 62) in the fields of organic and bioorganic chemistry, along with 57 international patents (51 US Patents), 68 books, and 40 chapters in books. His areas of research interest are Bioorganic and structural organic chemistry. The coronavirus first originated from Wuhan city of China causes the world upside down. The novel coronavirus merely in 12 weeks has led to the first pandemic in over a century. The top issue for states and governments around the globe is tackling COVID-19 to resume socio-economic status, and revert to normal routine life. Pakistan was caught unprepared. Despite the outbreak in the neighbour country, there was a lack of appreciation of the volume of land travel between the borders. Facilities to screen and quarantine potential carriers were negligible. Initially, the diagnostic facilities for massive coronavirus screening program and life-supporting equipment facilities were limited. The subsequent responses by the federal and provisional governments, law enforcement agencies, philanthropists, universities, and research institutions were robust. Such authorities developed coordinated activities to overcome such barriers, and to establish a well-developed infrastructure in the health care system in Pakistan. The focus was on utilization of internal resources to provide personal protective equipment to frontline healthcare practitioners, staff members, develop diagnostic assay kit, and life-supporting equipment, etc. Indeed, to combat future epidemics and pandemics, countries need to prepare themselves by getting more knowledge at the molecular level of infectious diseases, and diagnostics system. Besides, there is also a need for the advancement of technology to keep pace with the rapidly evolving microbial world.

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