Govt approved clinical trials of plasma therapy

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ISLAMABAD: Government allowed approval of clinical trials of plasma therapy and locally made ventilators for treatment of critically ill patients and permission for manufacturing of sanitisers and production of Chloroquine, the medicine for malaria.

Meanwhile, Sindh Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah hinted at extending the lockdown, which is going to end on April 14, for one more week as seven members of a family belonging to Karachi’s District Central have been infected with the virus.

According to a statement issued by the Drug Regulatory Authority of Pakistan (Drap), the authority has held back-to-back expert committee meetings to evaluate the applications for manufacturing of various items, inc­l­uding mechanical ventilators and hand sanitisers, and production of drugs.

“The Central Licensing Board of Drap has approved local manufacturing of Chloroquine phosphate active pharmaceutical ingredient (API), a drug used in management of Covid-19 patients. Now Chloroquine API can be manufactured indigenously to meet the requirement of those pharmaceutical companies that prepare Chloroquine phosphate tablets, injections and syrups,” it states.

“In another meeting, the Clinical Study Committee (CSC) of Drap allowed clinical trials of convalescent plasma for the purpose of passive immunisation during the Covid-19 pandemic in Pakistan. The application was submitted by Professor Dr Tahir Shamsi, principal investigator and chairman of the National Institute of Blood Diseases and Bone Marrow Transplantation, Karachi. In this study, convalescent plasma from recovered Covid-19 patients would be injected into the bodies of moderate and serve patients for the purpose of passive immunity for the treatment and to prevent these patients from going on ventilators,” the statement said.

“The CSC also approved clinical trial/ test of basic ventilators developed by the Pakistan Engineering Council. This will facilitate manufacturing of mechanical ventilator to meet the national requirements. To ensure free availability of quality hand sanitizers, Drap has enlisted more than 50 manufacturers to prepare sanitizers for three months,” the statement said.

Special Assistant to the Prime Minister (SAPM) on Health Dr Zafar Mirza told a press conference that a decision had been made to provide personal protective equipment (PPE) to 152 hospitals, sufficient for one week, across the country and later the number of hospitals would be increased to 400.

“PPE will be provided to 74 hospitals of Punjab, 42 of Sindh, 21 of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, seven of Islamabad and four each of Balochistan and Azad Jammu and Kashmir. The PPE includes N-95 masks, gloves, goggles, gowns, etc,” Dr Mirza said. “Moreover we will establish a database to get the intimation which hospital needs more PPE.”

“The media has been claiming that less number of cases, as compared to estimates, has been reported in Pakistan. It is true but people should continue taking precautionary measures as a sudden surge in cases can be observed anytime,” he said.

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