The Chancellor/Governor Punjab Ch Muhammad Sarwar inaugurated a new state-of-the-art Bio-safety Level-3 ‘Laboratory for Emerging Pathogens’ at the University of Veterinary and Animal Sciences (UVAS) Lahore on Tuesday. 

The Department of Microbiology of UVAS in collaboration with Pirbright Institute UK, Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council UK and Zoonosis and Emerging Livestock Systems UK established the lab for research on and diagnosis of emerging pathogens, including coronavirus. Addressing the inaugural ceremony, Governor Ch Muhammad Sarwar said that testing of COVID-19 is the first and foremost requirement to understand its spread, epidemiology and treatment. Since coronavirus is a novel virus, its testing facility must fulfill all the scientific guidelines of safety, he stressed. The governor appreciated the UVAS Vice Chancellor and his team for establishing the much-needed laboratory. He said that he was glad to see vice-chancellors of all universities to play the true leadership role in the time of coronavirus crisis. He assured the UVAS of his full support for further enhancing the scope of the laboratory.

He also spoke about the importance of tele-medicine and its benefits for health experts and general public. He said that coronavirus is a big challenge and we will meet this challenge with collective efforts. Presenting the welcome address, Vice-Chancellor Prof Dr Nasim Ahmad said that ever since, the closure of institutions due to the coronavirus pandemic, we have been busy in developing hybrid system of teaching and learning based on a combination of online and offline communication with the students. He said that the UVAS has initiated tele-veterinary services to provide clinical guidance to pet and other animal owners.

He said that the BSL-3 will conduct training and research in the area of emerging pathogens under one health. “This laboratory is one of its kind, equipped with modern gadgets and will also conduct diagnosis of coronavirus. With the emerging COVID-19 pandemic, UVAS established the lab on fast track basis, he added. He said that the UVAS is working on plan to start a video messaging program on coronavirus with the slogan “Corona say darna nahin hai, samajhna hai.” Chairman Department of Microbiology Prof Dr Tahir Yaqub spoke about the objectives and functioning of the BSL-3 lab.

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