PUTRAJAYA, Oct 19 — Echoing recent research findings released by the World Health Organisation (WHO), Health director-general Tan Sri Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah today also backed the effectiveness of the drug dexamethasone when used to treat Covid-19 patients.
Dr Noor Hisham was asked to elaborate the findings of international health organisations concerning the effectiveness of several drugs touted as Covid-19 cures, to which he was quick to endorse the corticosteroid medicine.
He said such findings reported by WHO, from results obtained during the Solidarity Therapeutics Trial where 190 Malaysian patients were part of the research.
“The positives we found is that the drug dexamethasone, which is the drug to prevent pneumonia and such, if we use it [to treat Covid-19], it is effective,” he said during his daily press briefing here.
Dr Noor Hisham also elaborated on the ineffectiveness of two other types of drugs, namely remdesivir, and the HIV/AIDS drug lopinavir, or ritonavir, normally marketed as Kaletra.
He said observations showed that remdesivir had failed in three different aspects that stopped it from being considered a possible cure for the disease.
“We found the remdisivir drug does not help in the reducing the chances of fatalities, and it does not reduce the likeliness of someone being admitted to hospital for treatment.
“We also found it does not prevent patients in category-3 or category-4 to reach category-5 of the infection and not effective in stopping the progression of the disease,” he explained.
Dr Noor Hisham was also not convinced of the effectiveness of the hydroxychloroquine and Kaletra medications, saying they proved not as effective in treating Covid-19 as dexamethasone.
Last week, the WHO released a report saying the drug dexamethasone is the only therapeutic shown to be effective against severe Covid-19 patients.
The report also noted how the Solidarity Therapeutics Trial managed to show that two other drugs, remdesivir and interferon, have little or no effect on preventing coronavirus-related deaths or reducing time in the hospital.
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