Silk Road Clinical Research Center inaugurated at UHS Lahore

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Silk Road Clinical Research Center
inaugurated at UHS Lahore
Prof. Yasmin Rashid says Policies should
be based on data and evidence

LAHORE: Punjab Health Minister Dr Yasmin Rashid formally inaugurated the "Silk Road Clinical Research Center" at the University of Health Sciences (UHS) Lahore last week. The construction of the 2,400-square-foot research centre has been gifted by China's Zhifei Longcom Biopharmaceutical Company, the investigator of ZF2001 coronavirus vaccine clinical trials in Pakistan, Uzbekistan, Ecuador and Indonesia. Built at a cost of Rs. 30 million, the clinical research centre will be used for vaccine trials and advanced medical research.

Speaking on this occasion Dr Yasmin Rashid said that universities are known for their research output. Policies should be based on data and evidence generated through this research instead making the policies on assumptions. She said that it was the duty of every medical university to do research on local problems and come up with indigenous solutions.


Prof. Yasmin Rashid Punjab Health Minister alongwith Prof. Javed Akram VC UHS and Justice Tassaduq Hussain
Jillani Chairman Board of Governors of UHs chairing the meeting regarding Silk Route Research
Center established at UHS Lahore.

Accepting the invitation to be the patron of the research centre, the Punjab health minister said that UHS was doing important work in the field of knowledge and research. The university conducted significant trials of the coronavirus vaccines. The health minister stated that so far 80 million people had been vaccinated against coronavirus. "The next step is to go door-to-door and get people vaccinated", she added. She further said that the NCOC had expressed satisfaction on the steps taken by the Punjab government in that regard.

Dr. Yasmin Rashid further stated that the government was in the process of collection and analysis of precise data on genetic disorders. "Health facilities are being scaled up to support patients of genetic disorders. Punjab is already running the world’s largest thalassemia programme. Latest technology is being introduced to ensure pre-marriage thalassemia tests. Currently, work on counselling has been initiated", she added.


Group photograph taken after the inauguration of Silk Route Research Center at UHS Lahore shows
Prof. Javed Akram VC UHS and Justice 
Tassaduq Hussain Jillani Chairman Board of
Governors of UHS alongwith some other guests
.

Dr. Shehnoor Azhar, UHS focal person for vaccine trials, in his briefing said that the varsity was approved as a clinical trial site in August 2020. In October 2020, a trial of China's CanSino vaccine was started in which 5,000 volunteers were recruited. The phase-III trials of the second Chinese vaccine ZF2001 began in February 2021, recruiting 2,500 volunteers. Dr. Shahnoor further stated that during the last two years, 20 partnership agreements were signed with the industry which was evidence of varsity's research potential.

UHS Board of Governors' Chairman, Chief Justice (Retd) Tassaduq Hussain Jillani termed the establishment of the research centre as a major challenge for the university in the field of research. UHS VC Professor Javed Akram said that the university was focusing more and more on research. He said that UHS had a special interest in gene editing for the treatment of hereditary diseases.

In addition to Chinese experts, a large number of faculty members attended the event. Dr. Yasmin Rashid also distributed shields among Chinese experts and prominent service providers. On this occasion, the Punjab health minister also inaugurated the university souvenir shop.

Speaking on this occasion Justice Tassaduq Hussain Jillani Chairman Board of Directors of UHS said that complementing the successful research partnerships in the brand new research infrastructure will better cater to the scientific and cultural needs of the visiting scholars and researchers in future. Now the onus is on us to maximize its potential for testing new medicinal compounds as per local needs. He congratulated the UHS and also thanked the Chinese researchers for their support all along. Finally the use of clean, renewable energy, he said, has indicated much wanted environmental conscience for this infrastructure as it reflects the commitment to environmental sustainability that the incumbent administration has stood for. (PR)

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