Rawalpindi-Coronavirus (COVID-19) has become a major global concern since its emergence in December 2019.

In the absence of any vaccination, the most effective general measures to curtail the spread of this infection is adoption of hygienic measures through the use of disinfectants/sanitizers, social distancing, isolation and quarantine, informed a spokesman on Tuesday.

As a premier institute of high quality agricultural scientists, Pir Mehr Ali Shah Arid Agriculture University Rawalpindi (PMAS-AAUR) has started research work to combat the COVID-19 pandemic through low cost and effective measures, the spokesman added.

He said two major research works have been initiated in this regard. First, production of high quality herbal topical disinfectants extracted from native plants of Pakistan.

These plant-based natural compounds will be safer and cheaper as compared to expensive chemical-based disinfectants available in the market. Second, the university has sent a project to HEC for evaluation of electrolyzed water as sanitizer against COVID-19.

The electrolyzed water will be evaluated against a poultry virus which belongs to the same family of viruses with similar symptoms as in humans. The successful evaluation will provide a safe and low cost sanitizer/disinfectant for use at public places, especially hospitals and educational institutions.

PMAS Arid Agriculture University has also a unique honour that its research team headed by Dr.Tayyaba Zainab (Assistant Professor) has submitted the Whole Genome Sequence of COVID-19 at GenBank, NCBI and Global Initiative on Sharing All Influenza Data (GISAID).

PMAS-AAUR Vice Chancellor Prof. Dr Qamar Zaman appreciated the efforts of faculty members and employees of the university. He said that university is performing its responsibility and stood with the nation in this crucial time.Vice Chancellor also said that students are being provided with online teaching courses and had started online classes to ensure students did not face academic loss.

Vice chancellor also said that online LMS was developed in a very short period of time by the struggle of Data Centre employees. University IT department also helped the faculty and students to use latest technologies for online education.