The key goal, according to Director-General of Health Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah, is to discover if Ivermectin could effectively treat patients with COVID-19 in the early stages and prevent them from progressing to category four or five.
“The clinical trial involved COVID-19 patients aged 50 years and above with at least one comorbidity and hospitalised with mild symptoms in the first week of their illness where patients would be randomly divided into two groups,” said Dr Hisham.
“We’ll also look at differences in the number of deaths, mechanical ventilation, and the number of patients treated in the Intensive Care Unit (ICU), as well as the consequences of their use”.
“One group will receive oral Ivermectin at a dose of 0.4 milligrams (mg)/kilogramme) (based on weight) daily for five consecutive days while the other group will only receive regular treatment without the drug,” he told local news, Harian Metro.
To date, 200 patients have undergone the clinical trial and the MOH expects 500 patients to be reached by this September.
“It is important to know that the dose of Ivermectin used in this clinical trial is higher than the allowable dose for parasitic infections. If something happens throughout the clinical study period, the patients will be continuously watched by qualified doctors,” he stated.
He said the study was registered at www.clinicaltrials.gov and anyone interested could see clearly about the study protocol to ensure the study was transparent and to avoid any prejudice in the future.
According to Dr Hisham, “The effectiveness of this drug in the COVID-19 treatment process must be based on scientific evidence and not personal views and public sentiments.”
A total of 140 participants are participating in this clinical trial, including doctors from the infectious disease department, medical officers, pharmacists, and research officers from the Centre for Clinical Studies (CRC) from 18 hospitals.