News ID: 269545
Published: 1022 GMT May 29, 2020

COVID-19 necessitates networking among Islamic countries

COVID-19 necessitates networking among Islamic countries

Prominent scientists and health activists from over ten countries worldwide gathered on the second day of the 7th Science and Technology Exchange Program (STEP) on Thursday to address "Scientific and Technological Collaboration Facing Coronavirus Challenge."

On the second and last day of the virtual summits, several Mustafa Prize laureates and eminent scientists from countries such as Italy, Japan, Kazakhstan, Pakistan, Singapore, and Turkey met virtually to share their research findings, experiences, and achievements regarding the coronavirus pandemic.

Composed of keynote speeches by Professors Jackie Ying and Ugur Sahin, leading scientists in combating coronavirus, and panel discussions including 30 health care officials and scientists, the 7th STEP served as a great platform to synergize the capacities of scientists and experts in the Islamic world to help solve this global crisis.

At the start of the program, Jorge Chediek, the United Nations Office for South-South Cooperation (UNOSSC) director and envoy of the secretary-general on South-South Cooperation, and, Olzhas Abishev, vice minister of health care of the Republic of Kazakhstan gave inaugural addresses.

"We are putting together some of the best minds in the Islamic world to confront the challenges brought about by coronavirus," Chediek stated.

Calling STEP "a perfect example to overcome the pandemic and establish a last-longing network among Muslim scientists" Abishev pointed to the necessity of “consolidation and solidarity in overcoming this disease. We should work closely together and openly share expertise."

After the inauguration, four Mustafa Prize laureates, Jackie Ying, Ugur Sahin, Hossein Baharvand, and Mohammad Abdolahad, presented their keynote speeches.

Ying discussed the recent works that she has been conducting, along with her research team, to develop an effective COVID-19 test kit.

She stressed that right now the world needs "sensitive and specific" COVID-19 test kits.

"There are many kits out there but the sensitivity is really important because it determines the accuracy of the result," she noted. "Recently, NanoBio Lab [in Singapore] has developed CEPAT, which is a novel exponential isothermal amplification method detecting coronavirus in less than 10 minutes. We are going beyond to give better sensitivity."

Turkish Immunologist, Sahin, talked about an mRNA-based vaccine that he and his research team developed which was recently tested on human beings.

According to Sahin, "the clinical trial protocol of the vaccine started in Germany on April 23 with a target population of 200 healthy subjects aged 18 to 55. The objective of this was safety and tolerability, immunogenicity, and determining the optimal dose for further studies."

He also announced that the first results of this study are expected by the end of June/early July.

Baharvand discussed "Mesenchymal Stem Cells for Treatment of Patients with SARS-CoV-2-related diseases."

The 2019 Mustafa (pbuh) Prize laureate stated that "the findings suggest that infusions of MSC are safe and well-tolerated in patients with acute or chronic compromised respiratory conditions. Recently there have been two reports from China that show there has been significant improvement in outcomes of seven COVID pneumonia patients."

Abdolahad, also a 2019 Mustafa (pbuh) Prize laureate, talked about a detector that he and his team designed. This system which is called ROS detector of sputum sample (RDSS) is "a simple electrochemical sensor with Nano structure that selectively detects the intensity of ROS in the sputum sample just in 30 seconds."

Abdolahad stressed that "the designed ROS detector system is not a COVID-19 detector, because it detects material in the sputum of patients, who are then referred to COVID-19 specialists." 

Next a roundtable was held during which senior officials from Iran, Italy, Japan, and Pakistan shared strategies to discuss "Post-Coronavirus: Policies and Strategies for the Second Wave of Coronavirus."

Mak Paoli spoke of the major aspects that caused Italy to be hard hit by coronavirus.

"First of all, Italian culture does not respect governmental rules. A lot of people disrespect the rules; the second point is we are paying the cost of budget cost over the past two years in the health sector. Germany has about five times more emergency beds than Italy. German health facilities are way better."

Haruka Sakamoto also discussed Japan's strategies for dealing with COVID-19, stating that "Japan put priority on preventing the cluster causing another cluster and did not put much emphasis on sporadic cases."

According to her, the three strategies of “testing, contact tracing and isolation policy” was observed in Japan.

A panel discussion was also held during which seven scientists from Iran, Pakistan, Italy and Jordan discussed "Scientific and Technological Networking in Facing the Coronavirus Challenges in the Islamic World."

Pointing to the importance of science and politics cooperation, Rana Dajani said "We are in this together. General public will suffer if we don’t collaborate. We should identify our strengths and weaknesses to go forward. It's not about competition but collaboration."

She thus suggested "the communication of science to the public in terms of ethics, values and informing them in terms of education."

After the roundtable, the individual speakers gave their presentation on various aspects of the coronavirus. For example, Professor Zulfiqar A. Bhutta, co-director of the Center for Global Child Health, discussed children and COVID-19. He stated, "The majority of COVID-19 cases to date have been reported in adults. Available data suggest approximately 1-2 percent of cases in children. Also, pediatric clinical manifestations are not typical and relatively milder, compared with that of adult patients."


Source: MSTF Media

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