Covid-19: Alumnus on the front line in Iraq

Mahmood Hardan at his desk

In Iraq, Alumnus Mahmood Hardan (MCh Minimally Invasive Surgery, 2013) is on the front line in the fight against Covid-19.

A talented laparoscopic surgeon, Mahmood returned to Iraq after completing his studies at Christ Church and helped in the re-establishment of the Ramadi Teaching Hospital which had been devastated by the war with Daesh. 

Mahmood says that his studies at Christ Church have always inspired him to “think globally and act locally.”  He says: “I was aware that, as the outbreak of Covid-19 started to spread around the world, misinformation began to affect people in negative way. As a result, I started searching for reliable sources about this disease.”

At the same time, Mahmood was appointed by his hospital to join the emergency team combating Covid-19.  Iraq has had more than 700 cases of the illness and Mahmood has helped examine suspected cases, taking swabs from patients and sending those who test positive to quarantine.

Mahmood has now pooled the existing evidence from trusted sources into a structured article which answers many questions about the virus and the pathological process of the disease.  The article explains the genetic code of corona virus and summarises guidelines for treatment, including the roles of antivirals and anti-malaria drugs in blocking the replicative cycle of the virus.  It also explains the reason for the failure to develop an antiviral vaccine at this critical time.

Mahmood brings his own work experience to bear in the article, reflecting that the vast majority of infected patients have mild symptoms of disease. However, for those with low immunity the illness is more severe, and with antivirals and anti-malaria drugs as the only available treatment options, social distancing is crucial to prevent transmission. 

Mahmood says: “It’s short article but rich with evidence-based information. I hope this interim guideline can help health care professionals around the world to fight against this disease.”