Muslim minds at the front of disease control in India

An AMU alumnus has developed India’s first Covid-19 testing kit, while Cipla and Wockhardt, both founded by Muslims are developing drugs to combat multiple diseases ailing the country’s citizens

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While India grapples with the pandemic of communalism amid Covid-19 at the behest of the right-wing media and organizations, individuals from the Muslim community, keeping with a scientific temper are silently toiling to find solutions to ease the testing for coronavirus and find remedies to other diseases that plague the people of the country every day.

In response to the World Health Organization’s (WHO) call to ramp up Covid-19 testing, an alumnus of Aligarh Muslim University (AMU) Department of Biochemistry, Nadeem Rahman, now the Director of NuLife Consultants and Distributors Ltd, has developed the first indigenous coronavirus testing kit that takes less than 15 minutes to yield accurate results.

According to a statement by the university, the antibody based testing kit costs Rs. 500 – Rs. 600 against the current Rs. 4,500 which is charged by labs for the test across India, thereby providing all of the population access to cost-effective testing. The price of the kits is likely to further go down.

Rahman was permitted by the Uttar Pradesh government authorities during the lockdown to develop India’s first ‘Anti-Body based Testing Kit’ to do finger-prick tests and he developed the kit in a span of just two weeks. The kit has been approved by the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) and regular production is to begin soon, Rahman said.

“We are confident of churning out one lakh kits a day to bring a faster and suitable solution for large-scale screenings,” he added.

“The best part of this rapid and lesser time-taking kit is that it is economical to produce unlike the expensive RT-PCR testing kits,” he said.

He also said that these anti-body kits will ease pressure on the pathology services struggling with Covid-19 detection.

AMU Vice Chancellor Professor Tariq Mansoor praised Rahman’s invaluable contribution to curb Covid-19 saying, “We are proud that an AMU alumnus has developed the much needed affordable testing kit when we see the surge in the number of coronavirus cases despite stringent measures are being implemented in the country. It is a major cause of worry.”

AMU and its alumni are at the forefront of India’s fight against coronavirus. The Jawaharlal Nehru Medical College of the University has already conducted 2500 free-of-costs tests.

Apart from Rahman, Cipla Limited, founded by Khwaja Abdul Hameid in 1935, is striding ahead after having received a final approval for manufacturing its Abbreviated New Drug Application (ANDA) for Albuterol Sulfate Inhalation Aerosol 90mcg (base/actuation) from the United States Food and Drug Administration (USFDA).

The inhaler, manufactured by Cipla for the US market, will be used for treatment of acute episodes of bronchospasm or prevention of asthmatic symptoms.

The demand for these albuterol products had increased around the Covid-19 pandemic. FDA Commissioner Stephen Hahn said, “The FDA recognizes the increased demand for albuterol products during the novel coronavirus pandemic.”  

Cipla has also decided to donate Rs. 25 crore to support the government during the pandemic and the company’s employees too have decided to voluntarily donate around Rs. 3 crore. Apart from this, the company will donate Rs. 9 crore to the PM Cares fund and Rs. 8 crore to various state governments. The company said it has also allocated Rs 4 crore towards the supply of essentials including medicines, personal protective equipment, sanitisers, masks, gloves and food, reported the Deccan Herald.

Apart from Cipla, drug firm Wockhardt, founded by Fakhruddin T Khorakiwala and Habil Khorakiwala too received the Qualified Infectious Disease Product (QIDP) designation from the USFDA for its once-a-day combination anti-biotic WCK 6777, reported Business Standard.

WCK 6777 for injection has been awarded QIDP for the following indications: Treatment of complicated urinary tract infections, including pyelonephritis (cUTI) and treatment of complicated intra-abdominal infections (cIAI).

The Centre for Disease Control, USA (CDC) grants the QIDP status to drugs that are effective against a set of multi-drug resistant pathogens and the grant to Wockhardt for WCK 6777 will fast track clinical development of the same.

This news of individuals from the minority community and companies founded by Muslim intellectuals will never be appreciated and probably never make it to the mainstream media because it is so engrossed in hatemongering and creating communal rifts at a time it should be celebrating every achievement that is a positive step forward in our fight towards disease control of any kind.


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