Covid-19: Health Ministry ready to undertake vaccine research if approached by WHO

PUTRAJAYA: The Health Ministry is ready to undertake vaccine research and other studies on Covid-19 if it is offered such an opportunity by the World Health Organisation (WHO).

Health director-general Datuk Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah (pix) said Malaysia had been identified as one of the countries which possessed quality research.

“If there is an offer from WHO, we are ready to collaborate in undertaking research, be it vaccine research or other research,” he said at the daily Covid-19 press conference here today.

Noor Hisham said this when asked about reports that WHO director-general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus has said that Africa will not be the location where Covid-19 vaccine tests will be undertaken.

Malaysia was very recently selected by WHO to participate in the global Solidarity Trial, an initiative to test several drugs for the treatment of Covid-19.

It has been reported that the Solidarity Trial coordinated by WHO across the world, represents the first time that such an effort is being undertaken to gather data and compare the safety and effectiveness of four treatment protocols using the combination of Remdesivir, Lopinavir/Ritonavir, Interferon beta, Chloroquine and Hydroxychloroquine.

Asked about the concern expressed by some netizens about the duration of the ongoing Movement Control Order which is scheduled to end on April 14, Dr Noor Hisham said:

“We are monitoring very closely every day, in terms of the increase of positive cases and also the distribution in states and districts. As far as we are concerned, there is no exponential growth seen in our cases. Although we have not won the war yet, neither have we lost the war.

“But what is more important for us, is to monitor closely and perhaps we need to have a few proposals. More importantly, it (extension of the MCO) is based on facts and science, so it is not about my opinion but it is the facts and science we are looking into”.

He added that the ministry was doing the modelling in terms of case projection, and that a day or two was needed to analyse all of the data.

“With the data in hand, KKM will put up the proposals to the Cabinet and the Prime Minister. A few options are available and the decision is up to the Cabinet and the Prime Minister,“ he added. - Bernama