Two companies in China identified to work on Covid-19 vaccine

Discussions are still ongoing to set Malaysia as a spot for clinical trials, says DG


TWO companies in China together with other countries have been identified to develop a Covid-19 vaccine.

Health DG Datuk Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah (picture) said although discussions are still ongoing to set Malaysia as a spot for clinical trials, much like it is involved in World Health Organisation’s (WHO) “Solidarity Trial”.

“However, it has to follow a stringent clinical trial under the Malaysian Medical Research and Ethics Committee, and we have to look into the details that are currently being worked on throughout discussions with them,” he said at the daily press briefing on Covid-19 yesterday.

The Solidarity Trial launched by the WHO is an international effort to test several drugs, namely to collect reliable data and compare safety and effectiveness of four treatment protocols using different combinations of Remdesivir, Lopinavir/ Ritonavir, Interferon beta, Chloroquine and Hydroxycholoroquine.

There are nine public hospitals under the government involved in the trials.

Dr Noor Hisham has already reassured that it will adhere to all safety standards set by the National Pharmaceutical Regulatory Agency.

In addition, he said although volunteers are encouraged to offer their helping hands to the ministry, the skills must be looked into.

“Some of them may want to help but do not have the necessary skills, which is important in their placement throughout the period,” he said.

As of yesterday, as many as 325 Ministry of Health-related individuals were found to be confirmed positive for Covid-19, whereby 185 recovered and discharged from the hospital, 137 were being treated and three died.

The cases involved 77 medical officers, 66 nurses, 24 graduate medical officers, 23 specialists, 21 specialist assistants and 104 from other service schemes.

Dr Noor Hisham said based on investigations, the cause of infection or spread among the health officers did not occur in health facilities.

“It was found that 70% of these cases were caused by individual activities including attending events, travelling and others,” he said.

Active cases in Malaysia stood at 1,966 out of 5,603 overall (at press time), noting that 19 of them were Malaysians who returned from overseas and 52 cases were from infections caused within the country.

Out of the cases, 42 were currently being treated in the intensive care unit, while 21 required respiratory aid and two new deaths had been reported as of yesterday, totalling up to 95 casualties from Covid-19 in the country.

The 94th death involved a Malaysian woman aged 32, with hypertension recorded in her health history.

She was a medical officer under the ministry with a close contact to case No 3,662 related to the Muar Specialist Hospital, Johor cluster.

The other death involved a man, aged 67, with a history of diabetes, hypertension, cardiovascular and kidney diseases, whereby he had a close contact history with case No 1,575 related to the Bali patient-under-investigation.

Meanwhile, 90 patients of Covid-19 recovered as of noon yesterday, totalling to 3,452 fully recovered cases, while 71 new cases were reported.