Nine Malaysian hospitals join global ‘Solidarity Trial’

by NUR HANANI AZMAN/ pic by MUHD AMIN NAHARUL

NINE hospitals in Malaysia will soon begin drug trials for Covid-19 as part of the global research effort launched by the World Health Organisation (WHO).

The effort “Solidarity Trial” will see Malaysia’s involvement with the testing of several drugs in treating Covid-19.

Health DG Datuk Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah said Ministry of Health (MoH) has fast-tracked the process to implement the drug trials to treat Covid-19 patients which will begin soon.

“The nine MoH hospitals are Tuanku Fauziah Hospital, Sultanah Bahiyah Hospital, Pulau Pinang Hospital, Sungai Buloh Hospital, Kuala Lumpur Hospital, Melaka Hospital, Tengku Ampuan Afzan Hospital, Sarawak General Hospital and Queen Elizabeth Hospital,” he said in a joint statement with WHO yesterday.

The research will be headed by Pulau Pinang Hospital Infectious Disease (ID) consultant Dr Chow Ting Soo with a team of 16 ID physicians and pharmacists as co-investigators at the respective MoH hospitals.

Dr Noor Hisham assured that the trial will adhere to all safety standards set by the National Pharmaceutical Regulatory Agency.

“Malaysia’s participation in this worldwide trial could help find life-saving medicines for Covid-19 through evaluating their safety and effectiveness,” he said.

The DG said MoH’s Institute for Clinical Research (ICR) and Clinical Research Malaysia (CRM) would help facilitate the implementation of the WHO-initiated trial in Malaysia.

The WHO globally coordinated trial is an unprecedented effort to collect reliable data and compare the safety and effectiveness of four treatment protocols using different combinations of remdesivir, lopinavir/ritonavir, interferon beta, chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine.

The head of mission and WHO representative to Malaysia, Brunei and Singapore, Dr Ying-Ru Lo said one of these drugs may be the world’s best hope for treating people infected with Covid-19.

“This is our chance, as a global community, to turn the tide against the global pandemic which already affects more than 180 countries.

“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.