Covid-19: Nine M'sian hospitals to start WHO global drug trial

PETALING JAYA: Nine hospitals in Malaysia will soon start drug trials for Covid-19, as part of the global research effort launched by the World Health Organisation (WHO).

In a joint press release, the Malaysian Health Ministry and WHO said that the country was selected to participate in the global "Solidarity Trial" to test several drugs to treat the disease.

Health director-general Datuk Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah said the Health Ministry has fast-tracked the process to implement the drug trials to treat Covid-19 patients.

"The nine Health Ministry hospitals included are Tuanku Fauziah Hospital, Sultanah Bahiyah Hospital, Penang Hospital, Sungai Buloh Hospital, Kuala Lumpur Hospital, Melaka Hospital, Tengku Ampuan Afzan Hospital, Sarawak General Hospital and Queen Elizabeth Hospital," the statement said on Monday (April 6).

The research will be led by Dr Chow Ting Soo, who is the Infectious Disease consultant at Penang Hospital, with a team of 16 Infectious Disease physicians and pharmacists at their respective hospitals.

Dr Noor Hisham said the trials will adhere to safety standards set by the National Pharmaceutical Regulatory Agency.

"Malaysia's participation in this worldwide trial could help life-saving medicines for Covid-19 through evaluating their safety and effectiveness," he said.

He added that the Health Ministry's Institute for Clinical Research (ICR) and Clinical Research Malaysia (CRM) would also help support the implementation of the drug trials in the country.

The trials would test the effectiveness of four treatment protocols using different combinations of the drugs Remdesivir, Lopinavir/Ritonavir, Interferon beta, Chloroquine and Hydroxychloroquine.

Dr Ying-Ru Lo, head of Mission and WHO representative to Malaysia, Brunei Darussalam and Singapore, said one of the drugs may be the world's "best hope" to treat Covid-19 infected people.

"This is our chance, as a global community, to turn the tide against the pandemic.

"Malaysia will be a valued partner in this trial to evaluate potential treatments that are more effective, and to save lives in the global battle to fight this virus," she said.

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