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Trailblazing in the fight against Covid19

Palestine's efforts in confronting the global pandemic

Jerusalem24 – The Coronavirus has caused a global pandemic that has infected more than 28 million people around the world, and has killed nearly 920 thousand people to date. As the global pandemic of Covid19 has reached Palestine, several scientists and health professionals in Palestinian society have risen to combat this invisible enemy.

However, the largest problems the world faces when it comes to this pandemic are the costs of Covid19 testing kits as well as the time it takes for these tests. This means that most countries in the world do not have the complete numbers of all people infected with the virus. Professor Robin Abu Ghazaleh, a lecturer at the Polytechnic University in Hebron, who has been working on developing new methods to find the specific RNA of different viruses. As Covid19 spread, Professor Abu Ghazaleh stated that he can change the course of his research to develop and improve the Covid19 testing kits as he has been dealing with DNA that is similar to it. He states that his improvement can create quicker testing kits. It currently takes several hours to give a clear result on the existence of an infection or not. However, Abu Ghazaleh told Jerusalem24 that with modifications he can test for Covid19 in around 15 minutes. The methods he is proposing can mean that any hospital or clinic can perform Covid19 tests with existing equipment and a lot cheaper than what is currently available. Helping humanity overcome this predicament it has found in not only Palestine, but the entire world.

Abu Ghazaleh continues that his team has developed a system that reveals the viral RNA for the Foot and Mouth Disease Virus, as well as the Newcastle Disease Virus which are viruses that travel through birds. He said that they can apply some of the same principles to Covid19 where they can examine thousands of tests with a visual result in 15 minutes. All they need are virus samples from infected individuals so that his team can begin work and help the Ministry of Health in preparing their different laboratories. This is not to say the improved test is available, it still requires time for the proper testing. That requires support reagents that are not available to them in order to continue their scientific research to improve the accuracy of the Covid19 tests.

In the battle to confront the pandemic the countries of the world are suffering from a lack of medical equipment to a shortage of virus testing kits. From that basic need Abu Ghazaleh tried communicating with the Ministry of Health to provide him with a place to develop and work on his research. In a phone call with him, Abu Ghazaleh spoke to Jerusalem24 “I have reached a desperate point, and that led me to post about it on Facebook. Talking about my work and my teams work.” He was facing several challenges to continue his work. But there was hope. A call from the spokesperson of the Ministry of Health Osama Al Najjar, and they discussed the possibilities of how Abu Ghazaleh can continue his work. In further comments to Jerusalem24 Al Najjar said “It is vital to supply the time and costs in fighting this pandemic that has arrived in Palestine. The Palestinian Ministry of Health wants to support him (Abu Ghazaleh) through providing samples that he can work on to improve the Covid19 testing kits”.

According to Professor Robin Abu Ghazaleh, work on this research could take weeks or months. However, this work is without a doubt an important step in the right direction. A step that can help Palestine blaze a new path for the world in confronting the Coronavirus that knows no borders, sex, age or race.

Mohammad Hamayel

Ramallah based journalist, Mohammad graduated from Al-Quds University with a B.A. in Media and Television. He has covered the 2015 Jerusalem Intifada as well as the Great March of Return for international media outlets. currently an editor/presenter at Jerusalem24. A UN alumni and a follower of global events and politics, especially American affairs.

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