Five-minute coronavirus test device: Pakistani scientist wins laurels

By: News Desk      Published: 08:35 PM, 30 Mar, 2020
Five-minute coronavirus test device: Pakistani scientist wins laurels
–AFP file photo

A Pakistani scientist is said to be the brain behind the five-minute coronavirus test device developed by Abbott Laboratories in the United States last week.

Currently based in the US city of San Diego, Jameel Shaikh is said to be from Badh town in the Larkana District in Sindh. He did his matriculation from Karachi’s NJV School, intermediate from Delhi College and graduation from the NED University.

Abbot Laboratories on Friday unveiled a portable test that can tell if someone has COVID-19 in as little as five minutes. They said the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) had given it emergency authorisation to begin making the test available to healthcare providers as early as next week. The test, which is the size of a small toaster and uses molecular technology, also shows negative results within 13 minutes, the company said in a press statement.

According to a Pakistani news website, Shaikh is an active member of the World Sindhi Congress and the Sindhi Association of North America.

The press statement issued by the company quoted Abbot President and Chief Operating Officer Robert Ford as saying, “The COVID-19 pandemic will be fought on multiple fronts, and a portable molecular test that offers results in minutes adds to the broad range of diagnostic solutions needed to combat this virus.”

The test’s small size means it can be deployed outside the “traditional four walls of a hospital in outbreak hotspots,” Ford said, and Abbott is working with the FDA to send it to virus epicentres. The test has not been cleared or approved by the FDA, and has only been authorised for emergency use by approved labs and healthcare providers, the company said.