Health minister mulls idea of linking local experts with WHO for potential Covid-19 vaccine

Health Minister Datuk Seri Dr Adham Baba says although a general influenza vaccine exists, efforts to formulate a Covid-19 specific vaccine has only recently begun in the West. ― Picture by Choo Choy May
Health Minister Datuk Seri Dr Adham Baba says although a general influenza vaccine exists, efforts to formulate a Covid-19 specific vaccine has only recently begun in the West. ― Picture by Choo Choy May

KUALA LUMPUR, March 19 — Health Minister Datuk Seri Dr Adham Baba said he is considering connecting Malaysian experts with the World Health Organisation (WHO) to see if a potential Covid-19 can be developed.

He said although a general influenza vaccine exists, efforts to formulate a Covid-19 specific vaccine has only recently begun in the West.

“I came up with the idea for our experts, such as epidemiologists, to interact with the WHO and see if Malaysia can perhaps become one of the countries which can produce such a vaccine,” Dr Adham said during an interview on RTM's Bicara Naratif programme.

However the Tenggara MP cautioned that even if a Covid-19 vaccine is feasible, it would take time for it to be fully developed.

He also dismissed popular notions that a person's blood type rendered them more susceptible to become infected with Covid-19, stating that it instead depends on the potential host's bodily immunity or lack thereof.

“So far antiviral medication administered to patients does not appear to be very effective in treating Covid-19.

“As for other alternative treatments circulating around, like the claim that drinking ginger water will help stave off the virus, I can only tell the public to rely on methods backed by scientific evidence which is proven to work,” Dr Adham said.

The United States' National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease Dr Anthony Fauci was quoted by the media as saying that a Covid-19 vaccine can be deployed within 12 to 18 months from now at the earliest.

Currently three US-based pharmaceutical and research corporations are conducting varying forms of tests to produce a Covid-19 specific vaccine, either by utilising the virus' genetic sequence or by formulating an antibody treatment.

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