Punjab University Establishes Dengue Research Group

Lahore: Punjab University has established “Dengue Research Group,” comprising expert researchers, for accurate information about diagnose, preventive and curative measures and other issues regarding dengue fever.

PU Vice-Chancellor Prof Dr Mujahid Kamran presided over a high-powered meeting in this regard here today in the Committee Room of Centre for Undergraduate Studies on Thursday. Member PU Syndicate and MPA Khawaja Imran Nazir, Registrar Prof Dr Muhammad Akhtar, Director Centre for Applied Molecular Biology (CAMB) Dr Tayyab Hasnain, Dr Shahida Hasnain, Dr Saeed Akhtar, Dr Muhammad Idrees Khan and microbiologists and other researchers of relevant field attended the meeting.

Encouraging the researchers, VC Prof Dr Mujahid Kamran asked them to submit their proposals and projects for research on dengue and the administration will take all-out measures for earliest release of funds for this cause.

He also announced to allocate separate budget for doing research on dengue. PU Department of Microbiology and Molecular Genetics (MMG) and Centre for Applied Molecular Biology (CAMB) had collectively been working on dengue mosquito. He said objective of the meeting was to coordinate among all the researches being carried out on dengue.

He said PU had the capabilities to face the challenge of dengue virus because there were a number of teachers who not only know about the work but also have the ability to express it in the fittest manner.

Microbiologists and other experts presented their suggestions. The experts said it was not beyond the possibility that it could be a result of bio-warfare from a big power.

They opposed the Sri Lankan experts on the point that there was no need of spray in winter to curb dengue mosquito and said Pakistan and Sri Lanka carried different environment. Dr Saeed Akhtar said dengue became inactive at a temperature below 23 Celsius and stopped seeding below 20 Celsius.

Therefore, such places must be sprayed which could help control dengue mosquitoes. Stressing the need of collaboration among Sri Lankan and local experts, he said mutual cooperation would provide an opportunity to extract maximum information from Sri Lankan team.

He said 2-credit hour compulsory course on ‘arboviruses’ (such arthropods which are responsible for spreading diseases) should be included in MBBS curriculum. He said there was a dire need of in-depth research to identify habitats of dengue virus which are responsible for causing diseases.

Addressing the meeting, Dr Muhammad Idrees Khan said there was enough indigenous technology which could diagnose either a patient was a victim of dengue fever or not. He said research should also be taken on either papeeta juice or other local prescriptions had required effects or not. He said there was four types of dengue virus and research must be carried out on all types.

Dr Tayyab Hasnain said a CAMB meeting had considered on three points. “Firstly, we have a low-priced powder which can be used with water, which could kill mosquitoes but we need to test it on dengue.

Secondly, which medicine is effective against dengue and thirdly, diagnostic PCR analysis can help diagnose either a patient is suffering from dengue fever or not,” he said.

Dr Fauzia Qamar said she used to visit hospitals for her research and with the passage of time the hospitals’ administration had been treating dengue patients in a well-organized and more efficient way. She said after talking to the patients, she came to know that there was lack of correct information and they wanted true information about the fever.

She said high-grade fever, vomiting, sore throat, decline in platelet counts can though be among the leading symptoms of dengue infection but it can not necessarily be said that the patients suffering from these symptoms are actually suffering from dengue.

She said majority of the patients coming to the hospitals with these symptoms fear that they might had become victim to dengue, which was not true. She said that only 20 percent samples of patients coming to the hospitals are tested positive while 80 percent patients are not suffering from dengue.

The patients having dengue show the signs of extreme muscle and joint pain, severe head-ache, myalgias, severe dizziness, spontaneous bruising, shivering, restlessness, loss of appetite, weak pulse rate thrombocytopenia(drastically decreasing platelet count) etc. are the signs of dengue infection. Dr Fauzia said the rashes appear on the body which are characteristically petechiae and could be seen on the lower limbs and the chest first and in some patients the rashes spread to the entire body.

Mostly the CBC of the patients is monitored for 5/6 days and then IgM/IgG level is tested to confirm the presence of infection. She said Lady Health Visitors could play a crucial role to create awareness among people if they are provided reasonable training, she added.

Researcher Qumail Hussain said the hype of fogging has created a sense of false security among people. He revealed dengue mosquitoes had become resistant against the spray. The researchers also expressed their satisfaction over the facilities being provided in public hospitals.

Kh Imran Nazir said the administration of Punjab government had been spending 19 out of 24 hours to provided maximum facilities in this regard and wanted cooperation of PU researchers to curb dengue fever. He said a meeting of PU researchers with Sri Lankan experts would be arranged very shortly.

He said every union council had been divided in 6-8 sectors and Punjab government had been importing five lacs kits which would be increased to ten lacs with the help of public and private partnership. He said we would approach door-to-door with the help of Lady Health Visitors and locally-elected persons and this work would be completed in next 10-15 days.

He said maximum quality facilities were being provided in public hospitals and Sri Lankan experts had also confessed that better quality medical facilities, as compared to developed countries, were being provided in hospitals.

He said private hospitals had been providing free treatment for the first time in history and many pharmacies had also been providing medicines without profit or free, which was a positive change in the society and it must be encouraged.

For more information, contact:
Punjab University
Tel: +9242 9923 1102
Fax: +9242 9923 1103
Email: registrar@pu.edu.pk

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