Gonoshasthaya Kendra Founder and Trustee Dr Zafrullah Chowdhury, who tested positive for coronavirus on May 24, is currently doing well in home isolation and has sought the blessings of countrymen.
"Dr Zafrullah is doing fine and is stable. He is being treated at home and working as usual," said a post on Gonoshasthaya Kendra's verified Facebook page yesterday.
Dr Zafrullah expressed his gratitude to Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina for enquiring about his health and wishing him a rapid recovery.
BNP Chairperson Khaleda Zia too enquired about his wellbeing, the post said.
"He has a bit of a cough. Otherwise, he is doing fine. He received the second dose of plasma therapy today [yesterday] at Gonoshasthaya Nagar Hospital," said an official of the hospital yesterday.
Dr Zafrullah has been trying to get government approval for Rapid Dot Blot, a Covid-19 test kit developed by a group of researchers at Gonoshasthaya Kendra in March this year.
Rapid Dot Blot can test for both antigen and antibodies. Dr Zafrullah was first tested for antigens on May 24 and then for antibodies on May 26 and tested positive for both.
RT-PCR test at the Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib Medical University (BSMMU) on May 27 also found the same result.
Dr Zafrullah, also a kidney patient, is being treated at home while periodically undergoing kidney dialysis at Gonoshasthaya Nagar Hospital in an isolated unit.
On the advice of doctors, he first underwent plasma therapy on May 26. Covid-19 patients develop antibodies and can donate plasma two weeks after recovery.
Men aged between 18 and 55 and women of the same age who have never been pregnant can donate plasma, which can be transplanted into the people infected with the coronavirus.
DGDA ASKS GONOSHASTHAYA NOT TO DO COVID-19 TESTS
The Directorate General of Drug Administration (DGDA) has asked Gonoshasthaya Pharmaceuticals not to conduct tests using the Rapid Dot Blot kit.
Gonoshasthaya Pharmaceuticals had received approval from the Bangladesh Medical Research Council to conduct tests for its internal validation and was scheduled to start tests of at least 50 suspected patients at the Gonoshasthaya Nagar Hospital on a daily basis from May 26.
However, the DGDA in a letter to the Gonoshasthaya Pharmaceuticals on May 25 asked it not to go for tests as the kits are currently under performance trial at the BSMMU.
"As of now, we have not received a report of the performance study by the BSMMU. The decision on the registration of the kit will be taken only after receiving the performance study report," said the letter signed by Md Rafiqul Islam, assistant director of DGDA on behalf of the DG.
The DGDA therefore requests that the kit not be used for testing for Covid-19 and not be supplied or marketed.
"Following the DGDA letter, we have refrained from conducting tests as part of the trial," said Gonoshasthaya Pharmaceuticals Managing Director and coordinator of Rapid Dot Blot project Mohid Ullah Khondoker.
However, he said they have requested the DGDA for emergency use authorisation so that they can be better prepared for mass production of the kit immediately after getting approval.
"We also sought pre-approval for import of reagents from the DGDA so that we can quickly go for importing materials once we have DGDA approval," he told The Daily Star.