Pakistan Embassy in Argentina Organizes Online Discussion Forum on COVID-19

BUENOS AIRES, Argentina: A discussion forum was organized on a virtual platform on November 27 by the Embassy of Pakistan in Argentina among the health experts and authorities of both Countries.

Dr. Tahir Shamsi, who is an eminent researcher and scientist at the National Institute of Blood Diseases and Bone Marrow Transplantation, Karachi was the keynote speaker from Pakistan’s side.

The Argentinian health experts included Dr. Daniel Fontana, the Adviser from the National Directorate of Healthcare Services Management and Dr. Susana Pisarello, the Director of Transfusion Medicine.

The forum was also attended by a large number of health professionals working in various South American Countries.

Pakistan’s Ambassador Muhammad Khalid Ejaz underscored the importance of cooperation between Pakistan and Argentina in the times of distress caused by the global pandemic.

Ambassador Khalid Ejaz highlighted Prime Minister Imran Khan’s vision of international collaboration and the strategy of smart lockdowns.

The ambassador reiterated the resolve to continue the collaboration between Pakistan and Argentina for sharing of experiences and expertise, especially the clinical trial of plasma therapy to ameliorate the impact of the pandemic.

Muhammad Khalid Ejaz emphasized that health authorities of both countries should collaborate directly as well despite slightly different systems.

While addressing the forum, Dr. Tahir Shamsi informed that since there has not been any dramatic development in the treatment of COVID-19 infection, therefore, different approaches were used by the health practitioners and experts to treat the COVID patients. One of the strategies which came up was the use of convalescent plasma obtained from COVID patients who had recovered from the infection.

Pakistan like other countries including Argentina, United States, UK, and other Countries embarked upon the clinical trial of convalescent plasma for treatment of COVID-19 patients. He proposed the development of joint protocols for cooperation for the treatment of COVID.

Dr. Tahir Shamsi informed the audience that Pakistan started the plasma therapy, not as a randomised trial but followed the WHO’s Murray Model and treated 357 patients with COVID-19 and compared it with data of patients who did not receive convalescent plasma. It was more of a case-control study rather than randomized control trial.

Dr. Shamsi congratulated the Argentinian health authorities for their momentous work in the field of plasma therapy.

Dr. Daniel Fontana, the Adviser from the National Directorate of Healthcare Services Management. described in detail the Argentinian experience in utilizing convalescent plasma therapy/transfusion for treatment of COVID-19 patients. He informed that Argentina started the use of Convalescent plasma besides starting clinical trials on a mass scale on April 15, 2020.

Dr. Daniel further informed that in the process, Argentina developed protocols for the clinical trial and extensive use of convalescent plasma. He apprised the audience regarding the research project of the development of gamma goblin and hyper goblin from the plasma of recovered patients for treatment of COVID patients which is the only of its kind in Latin America.

In his address to the forum, Minister Eduardo Acevedo Diaz, Director for Asia and Oceania, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, International Trade & Worship appreciated the initiative of the Embassy of Pakistan in organizing an event where the experts on both sides can exchange and share their experiences and knowledge to put up a concerted fight against the pandemic.

He apprised that during the political consultations, it was agreed that the two countries shall hold such events where health experts and public officials shall participate. It is in the said spirit that this meeting has been arranged.

Dr. Susana Pisarello, the Director of Transfusion Medicine while that since multiple treatment protocols are employed for the treatment of Coved patients, therefore, she proposed that experts from different fields of infectious diseases may also be invited in the next such interactions to cooperate for a complete treatment protocol.

In the end, both sides resolved to continue cooperation and interaction through health and public policy experts from both countries to evolve a joint strategy to fight the pandemic