PUTRAJAYA, April 24 — Malaysia is deciding whether it will volunteer for the third phase of the clinical trial for the Covid-19 vaccine in the near future, said Health Director-General Datuk Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah.
He said the second phase is currently ongoing in Guangzhou, China, and is expected to produce results sometime around November or December this year.
“Perhaps we will volunteer Malaysia to do clinical research here during the third phase. Nonetheless, we need to look into the results of the second phase first, before deciding on it,” Dr Noor Hisham said during the daily press conference.
He also acknowledged that Malaysia lacks the same experience as the China medical team which arrived in the country on Sunday to assist in the fight against Covid-19 for two weeks, adding that they are ‘at least two months ahead’.
“Many other countries similarly do not have the same experience. However, we can learn a lot from their experience, as it will assist in our action plan and strategic planning.
“A lot of things have since been discussed with the Chinese team from a public health perspective, such as laboratorial identification of the virus as well as the whole genomic sequence, among others,” Dr Noor Hisham said.
Similarly, the director-general said Malaysia’s R0, or basic reproduction number, prior to the movement control order (MCO) coming into effect on March 18 stood at 3.55, meaning that one individual can infect up to 3.55 persons.
“But now after April 14, we have brought down the R0 to less than one. Looking at the current infectivity cases now, today we have approximately 1,932, less than 2,000.
“With yesterday’s extension of the MCO by the prime minister to May 12, we can hope that in the next one to two weeks the infection rate will decrease. Yet we should not let our guard down, lest this results in an increase of cases again,” he said.
As of 12pm today, 88 new Covid-19 cases have been reported, bringing the total number of cases in the country to 5,691.
Meanwhile 121 cases have since recovered and discharged from the hospitals today, bringing the total number of recoveries and discharges to 3,663 cases, or 64.4 per cent of the total number of cases.
One death was reported today, a 61-year old man with a medical history of diabetes, high-blood pressure and kidney disease, who was warded in Hospital Sungai Buloh, Selangor on March 31, where he passed away early this morning.
Globally, the Covid-19 pandemic has recorded approximately 2,737,154 cases, with 751,805 recoveries and 191,423 deaths.