Health Ministry mulls over use of ‘Favipiravir’ to treat patients

25 Mar 2020 / 21:47 H.

PUTRAJAYA: The Health Ministry is considering the use of antiviral drug ‘Favipiravir’ to treat Covid-19 positive patients, according to its director-general Datuk Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah (pix).

He said the drug, which is also known as ‘Avigan’ and ‘Fuhaikang’, was not yet registered in the country.

“We (MOH) can approve it. However, we need to test the drug as it has certain side effects. So we need to be careful when using it,” he said during the daily press conference on Covid-19 here today, explaining that the drug was known as Avigan in Japan, and Fuhaikang in China.

In the event that the drug is approved, patients will need to be closely monitored to ensure its effectiveness, he explained.

Meanwhile, Dr Noor Hisham said 800 ventilators were required in government hospitals, out of which 500 would be designated for the specific use of Covid-19 cases.

The ministry had purchased 229 units of ventilators, with 54 units already received. The remaining 175 units are expected to arrive by early April, he said.

The private sector had also agreed to lend 64 ventilators for use in government hospitals, he added.

Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin recently announced an allocation of RM500 million for the purchase of medical equipment such as ventilators and Intensive Care Unit equipment, additional personal protective equipment (PPE) for public medical personnel, and for laboratory requirements for Covid-19 tests. - Bernama

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