M'sia chosen by WHO to run trials on drug to fight Covid-19

The drug is called 'remdesevir'.

Syahindah Ishak| March 28, 04:59 PM

The World Health Organisation (WHO) has chosen Malaysia as one of the countries to test a drug called 'remdesevir', which can potentially treat Covid-19 patients.

According to The Star, Malaysia was chosen because its Health ministry has the ability to "undertake the research".

Malaysia's Health Director-General, Noor Hisham Abdullah, said that the Health Ministry will start treating Covid-19 patients with remdesevir, whilst monitoring the drug's side effects and effectiveness.

What is remdesevir?

Remdesevir was originally developed to fight Ebola.

However, in 2017, researchers at the University of North Carolina found that the compound could inhibit the coronaviruses that cause SARS and MERS.

The first Covid-19 patient in the U.S. was treated with intravenous remdesivir when his condition worsened.

His health improved the next day.

Another Covid-19 patient from California was also given remdesivir.

Doctors thought she might not survive, but she has since recovered.

Although the two cases yielded positive results, it still does not prove remdesivir is safe and effective for everyone.

Hence, the trials.

Solidarity trial by WHO

In a Facebook post on Friday (Mar. 27), Hisham explained that WHO has announced a large global trial called Solidarity.

The objective of the trial is to find out if any drugs can successfully treat Covid-19.

Hisham explained: "It’s an unprecedented effort—an all-out, coordinated push to collect robust scientific data rapidly during a pandemic."

He added that the study includes thousands of patients in dozens of countries.

It has also been designed to be as simple as possible, so that hospitals overwhelmed by Covid-19 patients can still participate.

You can read his full post here:

Top image from Noor Hisham Abdullah/FB.