DUHS Blood Bank adopts
PCR based NAT technology

KARACHI: DUHS is perhaps the first public sector institution which has   adopted Real time PCR based NAT technology in the blood bank. This crucial and timely step taken by DUHS will play a significant role in reducing the rate of transfusion transmitted diseases like Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV), Hepatitis B virus (HBV), Hepatitis C virus (HCV) and West Nile Virus (WNV) in Pakistan.

This technology is the world’s latest and the safest technology available which help minimize the window period and offers much higher sensitivity for detecting viral infections and safe blood transfusions for all. The traditional method for blood screening which is also known as immunoassay or more commonly as the serology test detects antibodies to viruses or viral antigens. Thus, if there are no antibodies present, as during the window period, these simple traditional tests may not highlight or trigger a positive test reaction.

Prof. Saeed Qureshi Vice Chancellor of DUHS chairing the inaugural session to adopt Real time
PCR based NAT technology in the blood bank during a meeting held on July 10, 2018.

There are approximately 40% of the 92 million donations of blood round the Globe that are not tested and screened with the NAT technology. The under developed countries are most likely to use contaminated blood due to inadequate serology testing and higher disease prevalence. This technology is beneficial as it takes about only a week to detect HCV – RNA after infection while it takes about two months to detect such viruses through simple serology testing.

The Nucleic Acid Testing assays help detecting and decreasing the risk of blood transmitted diseases like HIV, HBV, HCV, WNV, Parvovirus B19 and HAV. The increasing Global trend of adopting NAT technology is contributing to reduce the rate of transfusion-transmitted diseases. The US blood banks introduced NAT technology for detecting HIV and HCV in the late 1990s to increase blood safety and transmission. Today, US has been able to supply 100% safe blood that is screened with NAT for HIV, HBV, HCV and WNV.

Currently, countries like Thailand, Mexico, Malaysia, Indonesia, Egypt and India have been using NAT technology while a number of countries in Europe and Asia have also adopted this technology including Australia, Germany, France, New Zealand, Canada and South Africa.(PR)

PHC’s crackdown on Quacks

Teams visit over 14,000 treatment centres
and seal 4,500 quackery outlets

LAHORE: Punjab Healthcare Commission has sealed more than 4,500 quackery outlets out of the visited over 14,000 treatment centres in its ongoing campaign against quacks and quackery treatment outlets. According to a communication received from the PHCC, out of the visited centres, 3,903 quacks had quit the illegal business for other ventures. Moreover, the district administrations across the province had also inspected 2,881 premises, and as per the Punjab Healthcare Commission Act 2010, had sealed 1,375 outlets. Cumulatively, both the PHC and district authorities of the Punjab had visited more than 17,000 treatment centres, and sealed over 5,900 quackery outlets.

The PHC teams had sealed the maximum number of 768 quackery outlets in Lahore, 372 in Faisalabad, Sheikhupura 312 and 304 in Kasur. Moreover, the Commission had received more than 2,650 desealing applications. It is pertinent to mention here that since July 2015, the PHC has closed down over 14,500 quacks’ businesses.

In addition during a campaign against addiction treatment and rehabilitation centres, during the last month, the PHC teams had visited 72 centres, sealed 31 and served show-cause notices on 27 owners. The centres were closed down for different violations, unregistered and unlicensed from the PHC, inadequate human resource and lack of facilities. Out of the visited outlets, eight centres had been closed down by their owners to start other businesses.

Chief Operating Officer PHC Dr Muhammad Ajmal Khan has said the Commission will continue its anti-quackery campaign till the elimination of the menace in its forms and manifestations. He has appealed to the masses to give information to the PHC about quacks on its free helpline 0800 00742, official social media pages and email. (PR)

DUHS Digital Library

KARACHI:The Vice Chancellor of Dow University of Health Sciences, Prof. Dr. Saeed Quraishy formally inaugurated the Digital Library at Dow Medical College last week. Principle DMC Prof. Kartar Dawani, Project Director Planning and Development Mr. Abdul Rahim Khan, Chief Information Officer, IT Department Mr. Syed Sohaib Shams along with other senior faculty members and staff graced the inauguration ceremony with their presence.

The newly renovated facility of the Digital Library will enable the users to access more than 75,000 electronic content including international scholarly literature, peer-reviewed journals and e-books over a wide range of disciplines. There are 124 new computer systems installed along with the overhauling of all the nodes of computer network and renovation and replacement, where necessary, of the air conditioning system and the wooden work within the Digital Library. This facility will not only help assist the post graduates, researchers, tutors and faculty members but will also aid in conducting various workshops, symposiums and seminars to enhance the researching activities and get benefitted with the facility. (PR)

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