PETALING JAYA: Nineteen positive cases have been recorded involving Indian and South African variants of SARS-CoV-2 in Malaysia.
Health director-general Tan Sri Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah said between May 24 and June 4, four cases of the Delta variant (B.1.617.2) and 15 cases of the Beta variant (B.1.351) were recorded.
“New cases of the Delta variant, also known as the Indian variant, were recorded, specifically three in Labuan and one in Kuala Lumpur.
“The Labuan cases involved infection from outside Malaysia and were all from the Layangan cluster, while the case in Kuala Lumpur was infected locally, ” he said in a statement yesterday, .
He said the 15 cases of the Beta variant, also known as the South African variant, were reported in Johor (six), Kelantan (five) and one case respectively in Kuala Lumpur, Kedah, Melaka and Terengganu.
“All the Beta variant cases were local infections.
“As of Friday, the cumulative number of cases involving SARS-CoV-2 was 138, ” he said, adding that 122 cases involved variants of concern while 16 cases involved variants of interest such as the Theta (P.3), Eta (B.1.525) and Kappa (B.1.617.1).
He said following the World Health Organisation’s announcement, Covid-19 variants would be named according to the Greek alphabet to avoid countries being tied to the stigma of the pandemic.
“The practice of naming a variant of SARS-CoV-2 based on its country of origin will be stopped, ” he said.
Meanwhile, Dr Noor Hisham said 7,748 new cases were recorded yesterday, bringing the cumulative number of cases up to 603,122.
“The rate of recovery is now 85.5% with 6,624 recovered on Friday. Cumulatively, 515,571 have recovered to date.
“The number of active cases is now 84,369 cases with 883 needing intensive care unit treatment and 459 cases on ventilator support, ” he said, adding that 86 deaths were also reported yesterday.
He said of the 86 deaths, Selangor recorded 20, followed by Johor (14), Negri Sembilan (13), Kuala Lumpur (seven), Sarawak (five), Kedah (four), Sabah (three), Melaka (three), Pahang (three), Perak (three), Labuan (three), Penang (three), Kelantan (two), Terengganu (two) and one in Perlis.
Earlier, Dr Noor Hisham said conditional registration had been approved for the AstraZeneca vaccine produced in Thailand, which was decided at the 358th meeting of the Drug Control Authority (DCA).
“The decision was made to grant approval for conditional registration for the AstraZeneca vaccines produced by Siam Bioscience in Thailand for emergency use.
“This second manufacturer will be the main source of the AstraZeneca vaccine for use in the National Covid-19 Immunisation Programme (NIP) in the country, ” he said.Previously, Malaysia granted conditional approval for the AstraZeneca vaccine produced by Medimmune Pharma B.V., Netherlands.
On April 2, the DCA also approved conditional registration for the AstraZeneca vaccines supplied through the Covax facility by South Korean manufacturer SK Bioscience.
Dr Noor Hisham clarified that Malaysia was receiving the AstraZeneca vaccine through two methods – directly from the manufacturers and through the Covax facility.
“Malaysia had been receiving the vaccines under the Covax facility in April. The supply of AstraZeneca vaccines from Siam Bioscience is expected to ramp up the vaccination rates of the NIP, ” he said.
He said AstraZeneca (Sdn Bhd), as the vaccine’s product registration holder here, had to put forward additional updated data of the vaccines in order to ensure the quality, efficacy and safety of the products.
“The Health Ministry always upholds the level of public healthcare when battling Covid-19 through vaccine procurement that has been assessed for quality, safety and efficacy by the National Pharmaceutical Regulatory Agency and approved by the country’s Drug Control Authority.“The government is committed to ensuring that all adult Malaysians can achieve herd immunity in line with the NIP’s target, ” he said.
In another statement, Dr Noor Hisham said DCA had also granted conditional registration for the Ravida tablet 200mg (Ravidasvir hydrochloride 200mg).
He said Malaysia was the first country to approve the use of Ravida, which is used in combination with other medicinal products to treat chronic hepatitis C infection in adults.
Ravida is manufactured by Doppel Farmaceutici S.R.L, Italy, with Pharmaniaga Manufacturing Bhd as the product registration holder in Malaysia.