Trial Vaccine Mix And Match Delayed 2nd Dose Instead Of Ivermectin Moh Told
DAP politician and general practitioner Dr Boo Cheng Hau has questioned the Health Ministry’s decision to trial Ivermectin on high-risk Covid-19 patients.
This comes after India dropped the drug from its Covid-19 treatment guideline.
Ivermectin is an anti-parasitic drug mostly used in veterinary medicine to treat worm infestations.
In a statement, Boo opined that resources could be better utilised elsewhere.
“The ministry should not throw scarce resources into clinical trials on the effectiveness of Ivermectin on Covid-19.
“But instead, (it should conduct) trials on mix-and-match approach and the delayed second dose mass vaccination strategy to induce cross-immunity against the new variants.
“Just hours ago, it’s reported that India has revised its Covid-19 treatment guidelines by dropping drugs such as Ivermectin, hydroxychloroquine, doxycycline, zinc and multivitamins [...]
“Is it still necessary for the Malaysian government to allocate funds for a clinical study on Ivermectin’s effectiveness in treating Covid-19?” he asked yesterday.
In April, the World Health Organisation (WHO) recommended only using Ivermectin in clinical trials - not treatment - due to a lack of data.
The European Medicines Agency and the United States Food and Drug Administration have also warned against using it to treat the virus.
On May 31, the Health Ministry began testing Ivermectin on patients aged 50 and above to determine if it prevented Covid-19 from worsening to Category 4 or 5.
The three-month randomised controlled trial is being held in 12 public hospitals and eight patients have been enrolled thus far. It aims to test on 500 patients in total.
The ministry does not endorse the use of Ivermectin to prevent or treat Covid-19.
DAP politician and general practitioner Dr Boo Cheng Hau
Consider strategy, Harapan urges Putrajaya
Last week, early data from a small trial by German researchers reportedly found improved immune responses after administering a mix of the AstraZeneca and Pfizer vaccines on 26 people.
Similar trials in Spain (600 people) also reportedly found that using the same mix triggered a potent immune response against Covid-19.
Both AstraZeneca and Pfizer are approved for use in Malaysia.
“(We need to) study the mix-and-match approach of various Covid-19 vaccines to get a better and wider immune response,” Boo proposed in a separate statement.
He also touted the UK’s “delayed second dose” vaccination strategy, where as many people as possible are given the first dose of the vaccine before the second dose begins to be administered.
For individuals, this would mean a longer interval time between the two doses.
“(We must) study the practicality of getting more and more population vaccinated for the first dose and vaccines and delaying the second dose,” the former Skudai assemblyperson said.
Opposition coalition Pakatan Harapan has similarly urged Putrajaya to consider this strategy to address rising cases as well as a shortage in vaccine supply.
At present, Malaysia uses the “one dose, one reserve” strategy following recommended dosing schedules of the respective Covid-19 vaccine.
Boo further suggested that the National Pharmaceutical Regulatory Agency be tasked with vetting more Covid-19 vaccines so more can be approved for use.
“And we need to make vaccine procurement and pricing more transparent,” he added. - Mkini
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