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Hope for acid attack victims as Pakistani researchers make breakthrough in low-cost artificial skin



Hope for acid attack victims as Pakistani researchers make breakthrough in low-cost artificial skin

A team from Pakistan’s University of Health Sciences says it has created a way to produce artificial skin, complete with blood vessels, which can be used not only for grafts and plastic surgery, but also the testing of cosmetics.

The development is described as a ‘landmark achievement’ in country that sees hundreds of acid attacks each year.

Headed by Prof. Javed Akram, a veteran physician as well as vice chancellor of the university, the team of doctors, biologists and microbiologists have produced cloned biological skin at a laboratory in Lahore. They claim it is of higher quality and durability than skin produced in the United States, Germany and several European countries.

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Currently, Pakistan imports artificial skin from the US and Italy that costs $900 per square inch, a realistic sum for only a handful of patients in Pakistan, a conservative, mostly Muslim country of a little over 200 million people – where 60 percent of the population lives on $2 a day. The locally produced skin will cost just $10 dollars per square inch, including doctors’ fees and the necessary medications.

According to the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan, 400 cases of acid attacks are reported in the country each year. The high costs of plastic surgery and imported artificial skin force the majority of survivors to live their lives out with scars on their bodies.

However, a wave of excitement is now being felt by hundreds of thousands of burn victims in Pakistan following claims by Akram’s team that it is ready to prepare biological or artificial skin on a large scale.

“It is indeed good news. Now, I can undergo treatment,” Maryam Yasmeen, the victim of an acid attack, told The Media Line.(Sports) (Pix: Anthony Joshua).

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