As the Delta variant spread across Malaysia, the Health Director-General, Tan Sri Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah had reassured Malaysians that the Covid-19 vaccines used in Malaysia are proven effective against it.
According to Bernama, Dr Noor Hisham said that this is based on the positive outcome of the vaccination in Labuan and Sarawak, where both states managed to reduce hospital admissions, intensive care unit (ICU) bed usage and use of ventilators for Covid-19 patients.
In addition, he is confident that the cases in the Klang Valley would see a drop once 50% of its population had been fully vaccinated by 31 August.
“We are already seeing some positive results, where in the Klang Valley, when we started vaccination for the elderly, the age group of 60 and above, patients in Sungai Buloh Hospital decreased and now we are seeing age groups of 40 to 59 and 20 to 39 also decreasing in the last one week.” he said.
In the virtual press conference held yesterday (14 August), Dr Noor Hisham also said that from the 67 whole genome sequencing done to identify variants of concern (VOC) in the country from 17 July until 16 August, 66 of them were confirmed to be the Delta variant.
He added that the Delta variant had a higher infectivity rate, or the R-naught value and this is the cause of Malaysia’s surge in Covid-19 cases reported past few weeks.
“The R-naught for the original strain started from 2.5, which means one person can infect 2.5 people but now this virus (Delta) was reported at five to eight, which means if 100 people get infected, they can infect 500 to 800 people in one cycle. This is similar to chicken pox (11 to 12) and measles (18).” he added.
Meanwhile, he also warns Malaysians that more variants are expected to emerge in Malaysia and there could be possible new mutations when the virus enters and multiply in the lungs of the patients.
“Maybe in another three or four more cycles, we can see spike protein mutations that are resistant to our vaccine, and we may not be able to detect them through our testing. The fear is there, but we need to look into solutions, how best to contain this infection in Malaysia.” he added.
On the other hand, Dr Noor Hisham said that the Ministry of Health (KKM) is still conducting clinical trials on the use of Ivermectin and the study is expected to be available by next month.
He said the vitro study (experiment done in the lab) is showing some positive results but the vivo study (experiment on living organisms) shows that to achieve the same anti-viral effect, a high dose of Ivermectin is required and this could led to other complications, such as poisoning.
On the other hand, he added that KKM is conducting studies on 3 other types of drugs which are potential cure for Covid-19, and they are artesunate, imatinib and infliximab.
He said that the solidarity tests on drugs used in the past as Remdesivir, Hydroxychloroquine and Lopinavir are proven not effective against Covid-19.
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