Three ministries collaborate towards acquiring Covid-19 vaccine

by BERNAMA/ pic by BERNAMA

THE Science, Technology and Innovation Ministry (Mosti) will be collaborating with the Foreign Ministry and Health Ministry (MoH) to acquire the vaccine for Covid-19.

Mosti Minister Khairy Jamaluddin (picture) said the collaboration is aimed at ensuring Malaysia is in the best position to obtain access in the development of Covid-19 vaccine as well as the vaccine itself when it is available.

“The joint effort between the three ministries is very important as currently there are a few preclinical and clinical trials going on in several countries,” he told reporters after a coordinating meeting of the three ministries at his ministry in Putrajaya yesterday.

Khairy said the meeting yesterday decided to use an approach based on science diplomacy to acquire the Covid-19 vaccine.

“So MoH and Mosti will identify the desired vaccine and medication and look into the development of the vaccine as well as the countries developing it.

“The information will be shared with Wisma Putra which will forge diplomacy with countries producing the vaccine so that Malaysia is involved at the testing stage,” he said.

He said this approach would ensure Malaysia is involved in producing the Covid-19 vaccine and to receive the vaccine as quickly as possible when it is ready for public use.

Meanwhile, Foreign Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein said apart from the vaccine, the collaboration of the three ministries is also to identify the medication for Covid-19.

“Vaccine is to prevent Covid-19 and medication is to treat,” he added.

Hishammuddin explained that diplomatic ties and involvement with countries producing Covid-19 vaccine could reduce the waiting period to acquire the vaccine for Malaysia.

“If Malaysia is already in cooperation with the countries developing the vaccine, Malaysia may receive priority to acquire the vaccine,” he said.

He said the two countries which have agreed to supply Malaysia with hydroxychloroquine (HCQ) are Bosnia and India.

In this regard, Khairy said Malaysia has identified the countries to cooperate with in developing the vaccine and among them are China, the UK, South Korea, India, Bosnia and Russia.

“This is an initial list as some countries have contacted Malaysia while Malaysia will be contacting some of them soon,” he said, adding that Malaysia would be involved in clinical and human trials with the countries identified.

He also did not rule out the possibility that the duration to produce Covid-19 vaccine, which is around 18 to 24 months, could be expedited considering Covid-19 is already a world pandemic.

Meanwhile, Mosti in a statement announced that the ministry is cooperating with the Chinese Embassy in Kuala Lumpur on the possibility of carrying out clinical tests for the Covid-19 vaccine.

“Mosti hopes to be involved in such cooperation with other embassies,” the statement said.

It also announced that a university from China has shown interest to be Mosti’s strategic partner in developing the Covid-19 vaccine via clinical research and tests at the end of April in Malaysia.