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Biomedical Sciences Department at QU organized a webinar highlighting latest research in COVID-19 | Qatar University

Biomedical Sciences Department at QU organized a webinar highlighting latest research in COVID-19

Dr. Gheyath’s research team

The Department of Biomedical Sciences at the College of Health Sciences at Qatar University organized a webinar event entitled "Latest Updates in the (Covid-19) virus studies by Dr. Gheyath’s research team" as part of a series of events organized by the department to highlight the research activities of the faculty members.
Gheyath Khaled Nasrallah is Associate Professor of Biomedical Science at College of Health Sciences. This webinar was successfully held through the WebEx platform, and the number of attendees reached more than 50 participants from various health sectors in the country and from the Biomedical Research Center at Qatar University.
Dr. Maha Al-Asmakh, Head of the Department of Biomedical Sciences, said that Qatar University is making efforts to support researchers in the field of medical research that addresses local challenges in cooperation with all research and health institutions in Qatar to address the threat of the emerging corona virus. The aim of this seminar is to shed light on related research Coronavirus in the State of Qatar to find appropriate solutions to help combat this pandemic with all possible methods.
The number of participants in Dr. Gheyath Nasrallah's study was around 2100 volunteers, in the months of July and August, 2020. Where one of the major findings discussed during his presentation the prevalence of the SARS-CoV-2 was about 15% among the PHCC register. The prevalence rate was significantly higher in male than females and associated with age and nationalities of the participant. The prevalence was not equal in all area of Doha, as some areas showed higher prevalence. He mentioned that the phase two of the study was recently started, expecting that the prevalence in phase two might exceed the 20% among the same participants of the phase I.
Regarding the Red Crescent Medical Centers study which was led by the MoPH mainly included craft and skilled worker participants. The study was conducted between July to September and the number of participants was 2641 male worker. The results was very interesting, as the prevalence among workers was much higher than in the PHCC participants. That is 60.6% of the participants were positive for SARS-CoV-2, this is exciting as the number required to reach the heard immunity is exceeded. The SARS-CoV-2 prevalence was significantly associated with geographic location, level education, type of occupation. The striking results is that only 8 cases from the total positive sample developed sever symptoms, which is good for the population of Qatar.
Dr. Nasrallah performed a comparison of the effectiveness of different serology diagnostic assays and equipment for testing the anti-SARS-CoV-2 antibodies. These assay are present in different health institutions in Qatar including, HMC, Sidra, PHCC. He pointed that all of the automated assay has shown similar performance with little difference for in the sensitivity and specificity for detecting the antibodies against SARS-CoV-2.
Finally, Dr. Nasrallah research aim discussed in the presentation is to understand the reason of having high infectivity rate of SARS-CoV-2 in Qatar, but the least morbidity and mortality. He mentioned that in collaboration with a group of researched from the Sidra Medicine and Weil-Cornell, they found the people who live in crowded area and shared accommodation might have high level of immunity and antibodies to other common cold coronavirus family which only cause mild or no symptoms. Due to the closed contact between these groups of people, they are continuously exposed to these viruses more than the people living in the suburbs. This should enable them to develop high antibody level that provide cross-protection against SARS-CoV-2.

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  • Dr. Gheyath Khaled Nasrallah is Associate Professor of Biomedical Science at College of Health Sciences.