PETALING JAYA: Eight patients have been enrolled in a new randomised controlled trial looking into the efficacy among high-risk Covid-19 patients of the anti-parasitic drug Ivermectin which was once touted as a wonder drug.
The drug has been claimed to be able to prevent deaths and the worsening of mild Covid-19 symptoms.
Health director-general Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah in a statement said the first patient for the study was admitted on May 31. The study, led by a specialist in Ipoh, is expected to be completed by September.
The study will enrol 500 subjects from high risk groups, those who are 50 years old and above, who have been admitted to public hospitals with mild to moderate Covid-19 symptoms.
Noor Hisham said the “off-label” use of Ivermectin had gained global attention because of promising results by some case studies and clinical trials.
However, the US Food and Drug Administration has not approved Ivermectin for treating or preventing Covid-19 in humans, while the World Health Organisation has only recommended its use under strict clinical trials with close monitoring.
Noor Hisham said the Malaysian study into the efficacy of Ivermectin treatment in Covid-19 high risk patients is headed by an infectious disease specialist at Hospital Raja Permaisuri Bainun, Ipoh, with a team of specialists and clinical research centres at 12 government hospitals.
Noor Hisham said the Institute of Clinical Research has set up a data monitoring board of independent experts to safeguard the trial patients.
He added that 95% of Covid-19 patients admitted to hospitals exhibited mild symptoms.
However, about 3.5% of them subsequently progressed to become severe cases. “They were mostly of older age (above 51) or had underlying co-morbidities such as chronic kidney disease and chronic pulmonary disease that increased their risk for severe disease,” he said.
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