Iraq produces urgently needed COVID-19 Laboratory Testing. Iraq Is In A Race Against Time
The COVID-19 Crisis Cell at Basra University in southern Iraq, with the support of the World Health Organization (WHO), successfully manufactured essential laboratory materials used in testing suspected cases of COVID-19.
The material, virus transport medium (VTM), is a gel-like substance used to preserve nasal swab specimens while they are being transported to laboratories.
Dr. Saad Shahin, President of Basra University, described what has been accomplished as “the result of a collective effort between Basra University, the World Health Organization and other colleges such as Al-Zahra Medical College, College of Pharmacy, College of Science and College of Agriculture, all in Basra Province.”
The laboratory materials produced at the University of Basra in addition to the RT-PCR sets provided by the World Health Organization helped facilitate the screening of thousands of suspected cases in southern Iraq.
“The bottleneck to contain and reduce the spread of COVID-19 in Iraq has been the shortage of supplies and equipment needed to collect and transport samples,” says Dr. Adham Ismail, the World Health Organization Representative in Iraq.
“For this, WHO and Basra University have coordinated efforts to produce the essential laboratory products needed to test suspected cases, and together, we set the overall goal for supplying the quantities needed countrywide,” he added.
According to the WHO office in Iraq, as of 1 April, the University manufacturing team produced more than 1620 VTMs, in addition to 3200 nasal swabs. These were delivered to health directorates in Iraq’s Basra, Muthana, Karbala, and Wasit provinces.
The Basra Crisis Cell has also announced other response measures, including an online application for COVID-19 self-reporting.
Disinfectants and sterilization material, including hand-rub gel, have also been produced locally with support from WHO and the Government of Iraq.
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