MoH to start drug trials for Covid-19 treatment in nine hospitals

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KUALA LUMPUR (April 6): The Ministry of Health has fast-tracked the process of implementing drug trials to treat Covid-19 patients, said health director-general Datuk Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah.

In a statement, he said the nine hospitals that will be involved in the trials are Tuanku Fauziah Hospital in Perlis, Sultanah Bahiyah Hospital in Kedah, Pulau Pinang Hospital, Sungai Buloh Hospital in Selangor, Kuala Lumpur Hospital, Melaka Hospital, Tengku Ampuan Afzan Hospital in Pahang, Sarawak General Hospital and Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Sabah.

Dr Chow Ting Soo, an infectious disease (ID) consultant at Pulau Pinang Hospital, will lead a team of 16 ID physicians and pharmacists to conduct the trials at the respective hospitals.

The drug trials are an unprecedented, international effort coordinated by the World Health Organization (WHO) which aims to collect reliable data and compare the safety and effectiveness of four treatment protocols using different combinations of the drugs Remdesivir, Lopinavir/Ritonavir, Interferon beta, Chloroquine and Hydroxychloroquine.

“Malaysia’s participation in this worldwide trial could help find life-saving medicines for Covid-19 through evaluating their safety and effectiveness,” said Dr Noor Hisham, adding that the Institute for Clinical Research (ICR) and Clinical Research Malaysia (CRM) will facilitate the implementation of the trial.

Dr Noor Hisham also gave his assurance that the trial will adhere to all safety standards set by the National Pharmaceutical Regulatory Agency.

Meanwhile, WHO’s Head of Mission and representative to Malaysia, Brunei and Singapore, Dr Ying-Ru Lo, said one of the medicines listed could be the best hope for treating Covid-19 patients.

“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.

As of yesterday, Malaysia has recorded 179 confirmed Covid-19 infections, bringing the tally to 3,662 cases.

Meanwhile, four more people had died from the disease, raising the death toll to 61.

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