Malaysia to run trials for new drug

PETALING JAYA: Malaysia has been chosen by the World Health Organisation (WHO) as one of the countries to run trials on the effectiveness of a drug called Remdesivir to treat Covid-19 patients, according to the National Security Council (NSC).

It said Malaysia was chosen due to the ability of the Health Ministry to undertake the research.

Health director-general Datuk Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah said the ministry would treat Covid-19 patients with the new drug Remdesivir and monitor all side effects and its efficacy.

In a Facebook post, he explained that on Friday, WHO had announced a large global trial called Solidarity to find out whether any drugs could treat infections with the new coronavirus.

“It’s an unprecedented effort – an all-out, coordinated push to collect robust scientific data rapidly during a pandemic. The study, which could include many thousands of patients in dozens of countries, has been designed to be as simple as possible so that even hospitals overwhelmed by an onslaught of Covid-19 patients can participate.

“WHO is focusing on what it says are the four most promising therapies: an experimental antiviral compound called Remdesivir; the malaria medications chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine; a combination of two HIV drugs, lopinavir and ritonavir; and that same combination plus interferon-beta, an immune system messenger that can help cripple viruses, ” Dr Noor Hisham added in the post.

Meanwhile, Health Minister Datuk Seri Dr Adham Baba shared Malaysia’s efforts to address Covid-19 with health ministers around the world in a teleconference with WHO director-general Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus on Friday night.

“I held a Virtual Information Session on #COVID-19 by WHO with health ministers around the world, explaining the steps that have been taken, and are being carried out and the preparedness of @KKMPutrajaya, ” he said via his Twitter account yesterday.

The ministry, in a statement on Facebook, said the session on Covid-19 by WHO provided the ministry with the opportunity to share information on the latest Covid-19 outbreak and measures that were and are being taken, as well as the ministry’s preparedness to handle the possibility of the infection becoming worse.

The session was also joined by Dr Noor Hisham and his ministry’s secretary-general Datuk Seri Dr Chen Chaw Min.

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