173 samples have been tested at NIH Islamabad
A total of 173 patient samples have been received at the National Institute of Health, Islamabad and tested for the coronavirus. Five of them were positive as of Tuesday.
This was confirmed by Nazish Badar, molecular biologist at the NIH Islamabad, on SAMAA TV’s show Naya Din.
The scientist explained how the test is performed in Pakistan. “When a sample is transported from a hospital and reaches our lab, we can give the results within eight hours.”
The sample is taken after a nasopharynpheal (nose and throat) swab test. It is then dipped in viral transport media which is a liquid, said Badar.
Once it reaches the lab it is opened in a safe environment to prevent cross-contamination with other samples and keep lab personnel safe. Then, the virus is extracted from the sample and loaded into a machine for testing, the scientist said. This will tell us if it’s negative or positive.
It is double checked before announcing results and the report is faxed to the hospital from where it was reported, said Badar.
There are only three places in the country this test can be carried out currently: AKU in Karachi, Shaukat Khanum Hospital in Lahore and NIH in Islamabad.
Badar says people shouldn’t panic and cases aren’t being underreported.
“All patients who are in isolation are stable. They will stay in isolation for 14 days and then tested again before being discharged.”
As per WHO guidelines, positive cases can be tested every three days in isolation. Someone who tested negative can be retested after two days.