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PUTRAJAYA, March 29 — Chloroquine, a drug used for malaria, has been used to treat Covid-19 patients since the first wave of the outbreak in Malaysia and shown its efficacy, says Health director-general Datuk Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah.
He said the anti-inflammatory properties of the drug were effective in treating Covid-19 which caused inflammation in the lower respiratory tract.
“When the Covid-19 virus attaches to the lower respiratory tract it causes inflammation and replication of the virus and this drug helps treat the inflammation,” he told a press conference here today.
Besides ‘Chloroquine’, Dr Noor Hisham said the combination of ‘Lopinavir and Ritonavir’ and Hydroxychloroquine have also been used by Ministry of Health (MoH) since the first wave of the outbreak.
He said the drugs used in the first wave of the infection showed promising results in treating Covid-19, however, further research was still required.
He explained that the number of deaths due to the virus had increased as the patients were either elderly, had comorbidities such as high blood pressure and kidney disease, or those who sought treatment at a later stage or after they began having breathing difficulties.
“We have tried the drug and it is also part of a joint study with the World Health Organization called ‘Solidarity Trial’ involving many other countries,” he said.
He said besides those medicines, studies would also focus on the latest drug, ‘Remdesivir’ as announced yesterday.
“This is only for research, and drugs that we have used off-label such as Lopinavir and Ritonavir, those we have been using since the first wave,” he added. — Bernama