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Malaysia’s Health Director General, Datuk Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah, is truly someone dedicated to fighting the Covid-19 pandemic with everything he has.
Like a true health professional, Dr Noor Hisham has joined a coalition of international scientists, physicians, funders, and policy makers to combat Covid-19 in resource-poor settings.
According to Drugs for Neglected Diseases initiative (DNDi), the COVID-19 Clinical Research Coalition aims to accelerate desperately needed research in areas where the virus could wreak havoc on already-fragile health systems.
Dr Noor Hisham is one of the 74 signatories of which includes experts from institutions in over 30 countries around the world.
This coalition is described as an unprecedented array of health experts that includes public-sector research institutes, ministries of health, academia, not-for-profit research and development organizations, NGOs, international organisations, and funders all committed to finding solutions for the pandemic in resource-poor settings.
These health experts hail from prestigious institutions such as Harvard Medical School, US, University of Oxford, UK, Franceâ€™s Pasteur Institute and the DZIF German Center for Infection Research.
What the coalition wants
In a comment published in The Lancet medical journal, the coalition outlined its goals to:
- Facilitate rapid and joint protocol reviews by ethics committees and national regulatory agencies, as was done for the Ebola vaccine trials.
- Facilitate approvals for the importation of study medications and materials through agreed coordinated fast-track mechanisms.
- Ensure standardised and simple collection of key data, sufficient for robust analysis of efficacy and safety of the tested interventions.
- Provide a governance framework to share outcomes before publication.
They also point out that the current distribution of clinical trials is focused in countries most affected by Covid-19, particularly China and South Korea, as well as high-income nations in Europe and North America.
Very few trials are planned in Africa, south and southeast Asia, and central and South America.COVID-19 Clinical Research Coalition, The Lancet.
Through this effort, the coalition will facilitate a coordinated approach for pooling data from all regions that can be shared in real time. This will help countries and the World Health Organisation (WHO) make rapid evidence-based decisions on policies and practice as they battle the worsening pandemic.
Malaysia is also already part of a mega-research project by WHO called SOLIDARITY for possible Covid-19 treatment. According to Dr Noor Hisham, the nation was selected due to our good healthcare research system.
Suffice to say, Malaysia is making a name for itself in the international healthcare community under the watchful eye of Dr Noor Hisham – and we couldn’t be more proud!
She puts the pun in Punjabi. With a background in healthcare, lifestyle writing and memes, this lady's articles walk a fine line between pun-dai and pun-ishing.