Photo: The Star
In the midst of panic and chaos, Malaysians will be relieved to know that we are in the good hands of our Health Director-General, Dr. Noor Hisham who had just recently joined a coalition of global scientists combating the COVID-19 pandemic!
Bernama reports that according to The Drugs for Neglected Diseases initiative (DNDi), Dr. Noor Hisham was one of the 74 signatories for the COVID-19 Clinical Research Coalition, which aims to research for a desperately needed solution to the global crisis.
The coalition compromises of scientists, physicians, funders, and policymakers from over 70 institutions across more than 30 countries, all determined in solutions to the COVID-19 pandemic especially for resource-poor settings where the virus could wreak havoc on already-fragile health systems and caused severe health impact on vulnerable populations, DNDi said in a statement Friday (April 3).
Other signatories also include Kolokotrones University Professor of Global Health and Social Medicine at Harvard Medical School, Paul Farmer; the Director-General of the Institut Pasteur in France, Stewart Cole; and senior scientist at the University of Oxford, Philippe J Guerin.
According to DNDi, the urgent need for international research collaboration and coordination was to support African, Latin American, Eastern European, and certain Asian countries where resources are limited in responding more effectively towards the now worsening pandemic. They found that out of almost 600 COVID-19 clinical trials registered, very few were planned in resource-poor settings, even though the World Health Organisation-led Solidarity trial had been launched.
In setting up the coalition, the members will commit to sharing their technical expertise and clinical trial capability to accelerate research on COVID-19, where all data from all regions can be collected in a similar fashion, pooled and shared in real-time which would help these countries and the World Health Organisation (WHO) make rapid evidence-based decisions on policies and practices.
For Health DG Dr. Noor Hisham, many have taken to social media upon receiving the news of his participation in the coalition, to congratulate him and also concur that he is the right man for the job.
Besides research, members of the coalition also called for specific commitments to ensure access so that effective new treatments that are affordable and readily accessible are made available as soon as possible in resource-poor settings.
We hope with this coalition, a breakthrough in COVID-19 research will well be on its way soon!
By: Siti Farhana Sheikh Yahya