KUALA LUMPUR: Dengue can be eradicated in Malaysia by 2030 if a treatment is successfully developed, says Health Minister Khairy Jamaluddin.
He said although dengue had been endemic since the 1980s, it remained one of the most pervasive public health problems in Malaysia, with 26,000 cases reported in 2021.
Khairy said although several successful measures were implemented which had significantly reduced the number of cases, there was a need for therapies and therapeutics to manage dengue as no treatment was currently available for the mosquito-borne disease which is prevalent in the developing world.
The Health Ministry, he added, would continue with initiatives to step up dengue preparedness as steps to eradicate the epidemic by 2030.
“I hope more support and efforts are given towards diseases which have been neglected, especially tropical diseases.
“Dengue is a neglected disease and has become endemic in several countries, especially in South-East Asia and Africa,” he told reporters after witnessing the signing of the memorandum of understanding between Clinical Research Malaysia (CRM) and Drugs for Neglected Disease Initiative (DNDi).
He said the disease had not received enough attention as it did not affect developed countries unlike Covid-19 which shackled the whole world.
As a result, the vaccine for Covid-19 was developed within a short period, he noted.
“If a treatment can be developed for dengue, we will be able to eradicate dengue by 2030,” he said.
The ministry through CRM will be joining forces with DNDi to develop safe, affordable and effective treatment for dengue fever.
Through this agreement, Malaysia will join a global dengue partnership led by dengue-endemic countries to conduct pre-clinical studies and clinical trials with the aim of delivering affordable and accessible treatments within five years.
DNDi and CRM will also work with Malaysia’s leading research institutes such as the Institute for Clinical Research and Institute for Medical Research on joint projects for pre-clinical investigations of potential treatments, testing the efficacy of repurposed drug candidates and conducting clinical trials for promising ones.