ISLAMABAD                -                The contribution of Pakistani research­ers, engineers and scientists toward at­taining self-reliance in manufacturing of the essential medical equipment like masks, sanitizers, ventilators and oxygen­ators to fight the prevailing health crisis of COVID-19 is not only a miraculous de­velopment but evident of having brilliant minds in the science and technology sec­tor.

The researchers and scientists of this country, once lagging behind in the sci­ence and technology sector, are now dili­gently working on manufacturing of such products which can assist its people in fighting this pandemic instead of depend­ing on the aid from other countries.

Soon after the pandemic outbreak, the researchers team of NUST took lead in de­veloping disinfecting tele-operated robots and aerial spraying drones for decontam­ination of spaces, robust and cost-effec­tive testing kits for detection of Coronavi­rus, high-quality sanitizers for microbial control, thermal monitoring camera to detect without touching, bilingual COV­ID-19 self-screening app and ventilators systems for short term stabilization of the patients.

While Pakistan Engineering Council (PEC) was tasked to work on manufac­turing of indigenous ventilators which were in the process of licensing. The driv­ing force behind all these initiatives was the Minister for Science and Technology, Chaudhry Fawad Hussain who revived this dormant ministry and motivated the scientists, engineers and researchers to come forward and utilize their energies to make the country self-sufficient.

Recently, the Ministry of Science and Technology, in cooperation with Pakistan Engineering Council, hosted an exhibition of medical products at Comstech Center where the country’s exhibitors show­cased their potential to produce essential medical supplies.

According to Fawad Chaudhry, Pakistan would be able to export various items re­lated to Covid-19 in the near future while cotton masks are being exported already.

He said Pakistani engineers and medics took the challenge head-on and, in a short span of two months since the Coronavi­rus outbreak, the country is ready to not just cater to local demand, but also export high-quality medical equipment to the countries in need.

Talking to APP, prominent scientist, Dr. Atta-ur-Rahman said this is a good begin­ning for Pakistan that it has started focus­ing on manufacturing of many products. As a Chairman of the Task Force on COV­ID-19, he said a number of initiatives have been taken so far. He said one of those in­itiatives is manufacturing of ventilators which are with the Drug Regulatory Au­thority of Pakistan (DRAP) for approval.

Seven shortlisted designs of ventilators were finalized out of over 50 received by Pakistan Engineering Council while the prototypes have also been developed. Such efforts would pave the way for large scale manufacturing of ventilators in Pa­kistan, he said.

Different institutions of the country are also working on developing Coronavi­rus testing kits while the testing kits de­veloped by National University of Science and Technology were found to be more accurate which are also with DRAP for ap­proval.