The Ministry of Health (MOH) will start administering treatment with the monoclonal antibody drugs Tixagevimab and Cilgavimab (EVUSHELD) in the near future to ensure that high-risk groups continue to be protected from COVID-19 infection.
Health Minister Khairy Jamaluddin said that currently the EVUSHELD antibody drugs would only be administered in government hospitals, and they could be used as pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) for those who were not yet infected with COVID19 but were at high risk of becoming infected.
“Studies show that the EVUSHELD antibody drugs can protect recipients against COVID-19 infection for a period of six months after injection,” he said in a statement, today.
Khairy explained that the method of administering the antibody drugs was through two consecutive intramuscular injections of Tixagevimab and Cilgavimab.
He said for immunocompromised patients who had received the COVID-19 vaccine, EVUSHELD should be given at least two weeks after vaccination.
Commenting further, Khairy said the assessment of the patient’s eligibility to receive the antibody medication would be done by the treating physician.
Among the selection criteria were those aged 12 and above; weighing more than 40kg and are among the moderate to severe Immunocompromised group (taking into account the immune response of this group to COVID-19 vaccination which is unlikely to reach a satisfactory level of immunity).
In addition, another criterion was individuals who were unable to take the vaccine completely due to medical reasons or had a history of severe reactions to the COVID-19 vaccine.
Meanwhile, Khairy said that treatment using the antiviral drug Paxlovid to treat COVID-19 patients would be extended to selected private health facilities in the near future, to ensure better access to patients.
He added that the distribution of Paxlovid medicine to patients in private health facilities is free of charge, but patients are still subject to consultation service charges and other related charges determined by the private health facility.
The use of antiviral drug Paxlovid, which has been implemented at MOH health facilities since April 15, is the first oral antiviral drug in Malaysia to treat COVID-19 patients with mild to moderate symptoms (categories two and three).
In the meantime, he said the priority of Paxlovid treatment was to the high-risk group of COVID-19 patients.
“As of June 5, 2022, a total of 1,364 patients were given Paxlovid treatment and have fully recovered, and no serious side effects have been reported. This treatment has proven to be safe and effective, and can reduce the severe effects of infection and mortality of COVID-19 patients,” he said.
Khairy said that the MOH believed and was confident that Malaysia was now on the best track to go through the transition to endemic phase effectively and safely, due to the ever-improving medications and treatment methods. - Bernama