KUALA LUMPUR, March 30 – A doctors’ group has proposed to the Ministry of Health (MOH) for private clinics to treat early Covid-19 cases with hydroxycholoquine (HCQ), a derivative of chloroquine that’s only available in the public sector.
The Federation of Private Medical Practitioners’ Associations Malaysia (FPMPAM) said it has submitted a proposal to MOH for a public-private partnership (PPP) programme for nationwide early treatment of coronavirus using the network of at least 8,000 general practitioners (GPs) and primary care doctors.
Each GP treating 10 to 20 symptomatic patients daily, FPMPAM said, will be able to quickly provide treatment for tens of thousands of early coronavirus cases.
“The FPMPAM is appealing to the MOH to urgently set up the protocol for this proposed PPP program and to release HCQ for use in the community,” FPMPAM president Dr Steven KW Chow said in a statement.
“To date, there have been no active treatment measures to reduce this yet to be tested reservoir of active infection, other than by quarantine, stay at home order and admission to designated hospitals if tested positive.”
Waiting for clinical trials may be too late, as Malaysia is expecting a rise in the number of cases in mid-April to 6,000 daily, he said.
“The strategy to break the transmission chain of SARS-CoV-2 is to treat patients with prima facie evidence of the disease (presumptive diagnosis and treatment), he added.
“A large number of patients will need to be treated in a short time to bring the infectious pool to below the critical mass in order to break the chain of transmission.”
Some 80 per cent of confirmed Covid-19 patients, according to a World Health Organization (WHO) report on China, display mild to moderate symptoms.
Dr Chow further added that chloroquine and its derivative, HCQ, are the only commonly used medications that have shown to have some effect in Covid-19 patients, which is already in use for the treatment of hospitalised Covid-19 patients.
FPMPAM also requested the government to supply HCQ to private clinics as the only stocks in the country are with the government; or import more of this medication to be used to treat patients in private clinics.
Dr Chow noted that many countries have already banned export of HCQ for use in their own countries.
As at yesterday, Malaysia recorded a total of 2,470 coronavirus cases and 34 deaths. Meanwhile, a total of 388 patients have recovered.