‘Hospitals lack virologists’

Experts say more biotechnologists must join pool of doctors

Zubair Ayub May 09, 2020

ABBOTTABAD: A rising number of coronavirus infections among healthcare professionals including paramedics and doctors is being recorded on a daily basis.

The reason for this is attributed to the fact that most of these caregivers are not well versed in handling pathogenic and infectious microorganisms like SARS-2 whereas microbiologists, especially virologists , immunologists and molecular biology biotechnologists are the right professionals to deal with such outbreaks who should be added to the already existing pool of doctors and paramedics.

This was claimed by health experts including Ayub Medical College Head of Community Medicine  Dr Salim Wazir and Abbottabad University of Science and Technology (AUST)  Assistant Professor Microbiology and  Immunolgy  Dr Ayub Jadoon  while speaking to the media on Thursday.

Dr Wazir when contacted said that the whole country has to work together to control this pandemic and on health front we need, doctors, nurses, paramedics and all the rest in good spirit and well protected to treat the patients.

The overall responsibility lies with the government and public health experts  to fight this multi dimensional war. “ In fact public health experts have to lead at federal and provincial hospital levels.

Virologists are required to supervise the PCR testing at this moment whereas virologists and immunologists would be required to examine the viruses and develop vaccines for prevention of covid and antibodies for treatment of covid disease.

At the moment there is an urgent need to employ molecular biology biotechnologists in all those places where PCR machines have been installed” he added.

Dr Ayub Jadoon when contacted told that there has been a cry from all corners about the PPEs for doctors and paramedics.

In spite of the provision of the PPEs morbidity and mortalities have been  increasing on daily basis.

He said  that infectious and non infectious microorganisms subjects with specialization in  virology, Bacteriology , Mycology, Parasitology, in which every student is supposed to do a complete research on the microbial dynamics of the selected pathogenic strains.

Many of them work on the mutation in viruses. “ During their research they completely restrict themselves in the labs and deal in such viruses and their emerging strains” adding that they are the professionals who study such viruses more than 8 to 10 years. Dr Ayub pointed out that during this study they come across every step starting from the sampling i.e.  blood, saliva, urine CSF etc, their transportation to the labs and then lab handling upto the level of the results keeping the samples in stores for further study.

In contrast paramedics and doctors usually have a detailed study in the subjects of Anatomy, Physiology, Medicine and Surgery.

Dr Jadoon pointed out that hundreds of Microbiologists, Bacteriologists and Immunologists are present in the country  in the country and suggested that in every hospital there is a dire need that such professionals should be added to the already existing pool of doctors and paramedics in order to avoid the morbidity and mortality. “The professionals can work together as a team in hospitals and other diagnostic centers to minimize the loss and  can very well handle the corona patients in the wards”.

Similarly they can also be useful in the departments where there is a chance of gathering of the people in order to guide the people properly and to behave in the scientific way, he concluded.

Published in The Express Tribune, May 9th, 2020.

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