Karandaaz Pakistanis providing financing to Excel Labs to initiate COVID-19 testing. With this funding, Excel Labs is building its capacity to carry out an estimated 500 tests daily and more than 10,000 tests a month. This emergency response will help the country build critical testing capacity to test, track and control the spread of COVID-19.
At present, Pakistan is administering less than 1,000 tests per one million citizens, compared to more than 18,000 in the US, 12,000 in the UK, 113,000 in the UAE, 30,000 in Germany, and 5,000 tests per one million people in Iran. In addition to the financing at zero percent mark-up, a grant by Karandaaz will also be provided to Excel Labs for subsidising around 4,000 tests. Subsidized tests will be available to vulnerable categories, including those above 65 years of age, doctors and nurses exposed to the Corona virus, and poor individuals who cannot afford the test.
Karandaaz’s existing investment in Excel Labs, a laboratory and diagnostic service provider in Pakistan, has already enabled it to expand its service by three times, and created 735 new jobs including almost 700 for women and youth. Excel Labs has a presence at more than 104 locations across Punjab, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Balochistan and Azad Jammu & Kashmir. The Lab currently offer a total of 727 types of tests; with this concessional financing from Karandaaz, Excel Labs will be able to expand its diagnostic tests portfolio to identify carriers and patients of the corona virus. The samples collected by Excel Labs will be tested in a WHO standard Lab.
Speaking about the significance of this investment, Dr. Shamshad Akhtar, Chairperson Karandaaz said, “The novel coronavirus has thrown up unprecedented challenges for every country. In this global fight against the pandemic, it is imperative for each and every country to substantially build its testing capacity to mitigate the spread of this disease through test, trace & quarantine strategy. I am pleased that Karandaaz has been able to mobilize capital to enable Excel Labs to initiate COVID-19 testing as per WHO standards. Initiatives like these, coupled with the support provided by the Government of Pakistan and the private sector is what will enable Pakistan to contain and overcome this crisis.”
Mr. Ali Sarfraz, CEO Karandaaz said“The investment in Excel Labs network will enable it to quickly increase its capacity to perform COVID-19 diagnostic tests. We are happy to extend this additional financing to our investee as it will help the country’s capacity to undertake many more diagnostic tests to curb the COVID-19 epidemic. In line with the WHO’s recommendation to test, test and test, the investment in Excel Labs through Karandaaz will help Pakistan enhance its capacity to conduct more tests, currently estimated at less than 1,000tests per million to identify patients and carriers of the COVID-19 virus.”
Speaking about the investment, CEO Excel Labs, Dr Naseer Ahmad said,“Our partnership with Karandaaz has been really fruitful as it enabled us to have access to growth capital and expand our operations, creating more jobs and offering a wider range of diagnostic services in Pakistan. This new commitment from Karandaaz will help us gear up to deal with this novel virus and offer the much-needed tests to thousands across the country at a concessional rate. We hope that with this test, Excel Labs can play a role in significantly boost the country’s overall response to the pandemic.”