WHO chooses Malaysia to run trials on new drug to fight Covid-19

Health workers preparing to test patients for coronavirus at a clinic in Kuala Lumpur on March 23, 2020.
Health workers preparing to test patients for coronavirus at a clinic in Kuala Lumpur on March 23, 2020.PHOTO: REUTERS

PETALING JAYA (THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK) - Malaysia has been chosen by the World Health Organisation (WHO) as one of the countries to run trials on the effectiveness of a drug called Remdesevir to treat Covid-19 patients, says the National Security Council (NSC).

NSC said that Malaysia was chosen due to the ability of the Health Ministry to undertake the research.

Health director-general Noor Hisham Abdullah said that the Health Ministry will treat Covid-19 patients with the new drug Remdesevir and will monitor all side effects and its effectiveness.

In a Facebook post, Datuk Dr Noor Hisham explained that on Friday (March 27), WHO announced a large global trial, called Solidarity, to find out whether any drugs can treat infections with the new coronavirus.

"It's an unprecedented effort - an all-out, coordinated push to collect robust scientific data rapidly during a pandemic."

"The study, which could include many thousands of patients in dozens of countries, has been designed to be as simple as possible so that even hospitals overwhelmed by an onslaught of Covid-19 patients can participate.

"WHO is focusing on what it says are the four most promising therapies: an experimental antiviral compound called remdesivir; the malaria medications chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine; a combination of two HIV drugs, lopinavir and ritonavir; and that same combination plus interferon-beta, an immune system messenger that can help cripple viruses," Dr Noor Hisham posted.