PUTRAJAYA, Oct 19 — Anti-virus medicines such as remdesivir were found to be ineffective in treating COVID-19 patients as well as not helpful in reducing death cases of the outbreak.
Health director-general, Tan Sri Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah said clinical studies by the WHO Solidarity trial proved anti-malaria medicine hydroxychloroquine, as well as lopinavir and ritonavir were not effective in treating the disease.
“So we could conclude that remdesivir is not effective for us to treat COVID-19 patients in three aspects, namely death, admission to hospital and need for ventilator.
“Earlier we have no strong evidence, but today we have conducted studies not only in Malaysia but also involving countries under WHO,” he told a media conference on the latest COVID-19 development today.
Earlier, all the medicines (remdesivir, hydroxychloroquine, lopinavir and ritonavir) were used to treat COVID-19 patients.
However, Dr Noor Hisham said anti-virus medicine, dexamethasone which could prevent pneumonia was found effective and gave positive results on the health of patients.
He said the clinical study involved COVID-19 patients from 30 countries including Malaysia.
On the procurement of vaccine, Dr Noor Hisham said MOH needed to look at the data on the effectiveness of the vaccine as well as study on its side effects before recommending its application for Malaysians,
“We need to see the effectiveness of vaccine and its complications if it is high…we have an issue to use the vaccine as safety is very important to MOH,” he said.
Commenting on the involvement of Malaysia in COVID-19 Vaccine Global Access (COVAX) in developing the vaccine, Dr Noor Hisham said MOH agreed to be in the group as Malaysia could discuss with the company and countries to procure the vaccine.
Via COVAX, he said Malaysia is free to hold discussions with the countries or the company producing the vaccine.
“Apart from that, several issues should be studied in obtaining the vaccine such as why the price is already fixed when it is still not ready. MOH needs to take the responsibility and not the manufacturing company of the vaccine,” he said and added that the issue should be further looked into.