SARS COV-2 PANDEMIC: EXPERIENCE AT REFERENCE VIROLOGY LABORATORY SHORT RUNNING TITLE: SARS COV-2 PANDEMIC EXPERIENCE
Objective: To share our large scale SARS CoV-2 PCR test experience in Northern Pakistan.
Study Design: Prospective observational study.
Place and Duration of Study: Virology Department, Armed Forces Institute of Pathology, Rawalpindi, from Feb to Dec 2020.
Methodology: All the patients reporting to COVID-19 desk both indoor and outdoor were included in study. Nasopharyngeal swab specimen was taken from the patients arriving at reception. For hospitalized patient’s samples were received at reception placed in viral transport medium maintaining cold chain.
Results: Among 193656 samples tested for SARS CoV-2 RNA by RT-PCR, 24338 (12.6%) were found positive and 169318 (87.4%) were negative. Mean age of patients was 38.25 ± 16.73 (1-110 years). 138781 (71.7%) were males and 54875 (28.3%) were females. 109765 (56.7%) samples were received from in patient department and 83891 (43.3%) samples were received from outpatient department. Highest number of cases (n=6224) seen during month of June followed by 5813 cases during May and 4786 cases during November (p-value <0.001). Most of the positive cases were in age group 21-40 years; 11122 (6%), followed by age group 41-60 years; 8133 (4.2%). More positive samples 14890 (7.7%) were received from in patient department and males 17928 (9.3%) were affected more than females.
Conclusion: The two peaks of COVID-19 pandemic in Pakistan were observed during the months of May to July and again during October to December. Most positive patients in our setup were males in age group 21-40 years as this age group is more exposed to external environment.