‘Drug is not stopping virus’


KUALA LUMPUR: Available data from Malaysia suggests that hydroxychloroquine is unable to stop Covid-19 from progressing to more severe stages of the disease in patients.

Data from patients who are either in Stage 2 or 3 showed that the drug did not prevent their condition from worsening, said Dr K. Suresh, an infectious disease consultant who is also Hospital Sungai Buloh’s head of Medical Department.

He said this at a webinar on updates on clinical management of Covid-19 on Thursday that was moderated by former deputy Health director-general Datuk Dr Christopher Lee.

The preliminary conclusion was based on data from 586 Covid-19 patients from Hospital Sungai Buloh and Hospital Permai (Johor) that did not need oxygen support.

As many as 451 of these patients were given hydroxychloroquine for at least five days, and the results were compared with 135 patients (based on past data gathered before the drug was introduced for treating Covid-19) who did not receive the drug.

Malaysia introduced its national guidelines on hydroxychloroquine for Covid-19 patients in early March.

The results showed that the proportion of patients on hydroxychloroquine who deteriorated to Stages 4 and 5 was 10% (45 out of 451) while 8.9% (12 out of 135) of patients without the drug use showed deterioration.

“Hydroxychloroquine doesn’t seem to prevent the deterioration of severe disease. The results did not show any significant difference between the two groups,” said Dr Suresh.

Based on the local data and the World Health Organisation announcing on Wednesday that it was dropping hydroxychloroquine from its massive clinical study after available data indicated the drug was ineffective for Covid-19, Dr Suresh said Malaysia might also stop using it for the time being.

However, he added that definitive data will come from the United States’ National Institute of Health (NIH), which is studying 2,000 outpatients with early Covid-19, to see if giving them hydroxychloroquine at the very early onset of the disease will prevent the need for hospitalisation, he said, adding that the NIH study will be the conclusive finding on the effectiveness of the drug.

Currently, the Health Ministry’s guidelines provide for lopinavir/ritonavir and favipravir to be prescribed for Stages 4 and 5 patients, said Dr Suresh, who added that interferons will be used if the illness is less than seven days.

To a question from Dr Lee, who asked why ribavirin (an anti-viral) was removed from the Health Ministry’s guidelines for Covid-19 treatment, Dr Suresh said doctors had initially used it, but stopped after patients had problems with anaemia and platelet as well as liver issues.

The webinar was initiated by the Health Ministry’s Clinical Research Centre director Datuk Dr Goh Pik Pin.

The other speaker was Medical Development Division clinical audit unit head (Medical Care Quality Section) Dr Faizah Muhamad Zin.

Article type: metered
User Type: anonymous web
User Status:
Campaign ID: 1
Cxense type: free
User access status: 3
   

Did you find this article insightful?

Yes
No

89% readers found this article insightful

Next In Nation

Covid-19: No M’sians to be used as ‘lab-mice’ in vaccine development, says KJ
18 suspected smugglers remanded following fatal shootout with GOF at border
Almost RM100mil approved to upgrade 20 dilapidated schools in Kota Belud, says Education Ministry
Time to end trading of wildlife meat, body parts, says Sarawak Forestry
Cops nab man who allegedly made slanderous statement on IGP, Johor police chief
S'wak to set up infectious diseases centre under 12th Malaysia Plan
Budget 2021: RM400mil injection to COSS will help B40 group, says Nanta
Most M'sians believe investment in digital infrastructure vital to future growth, finds survey
Over RM20bil worth of residential properties remain unsold, Dewan told
Dewan Rakyat sitting extended to 3pm today (Nov 25)

Stories You'll Enjoy