Sarawak first in Malaysia to get Ronapreve to treat severe Covid-19

Dr Sim (right) holding a box containing Ronapreve when visiting the SGH team. Photo credit: Dr Sim's Facebook page

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By Karen Bong

KUCHING, Dec 22: Sarawak is the first in Malaysia to receive a supply of Ronapreve, a new life-saving Covid-19 drug which was given to former USA president Donald Trump, which will assist public hospitals in treating patients with severe illness.

Minister for Local Government and Housing Dato Sri Dr Sim Kui Hian emphasised that the Sarawak government has gotten ahead of the federal government in securing the revolutionary Covid-19 drug given to Trump when he had Covid-19 last year.

“This is truly historical as Sarawak is the first to get hold of the supply which is yet to be available in public hospitals under the Ministry of Health (MOH) in the rest of Malaysia.

“Ronapreve will be another weapon for our medical specialists to fight Covid-19, especially for the most vulnerable patients (under Category 4).

“Only public hospitals in Sarawak will have this medicine which was approved by National Pharmaceutical Regulatory Agency (NPRA) and MOH very recently on Dec 14,” he shared in a social media post last night after visiting the Sarawak General Hospital (Dec 21).

A close-up of the high-in-demand life-saving Ronapreve drug for Covid-19. Photo credit: Dr Sim’s Facebook page

Dr Sim said that Sarawak was fortunate to get its hands on the drug globally following advance engagement with Roche, the pharmaceutical company that developed Ronapreve.

Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Tan Sri Abang Johari Tun Openg allocated funding to secure the drug that costs up to “few thousands per dose” before the State Legislative Assembly (DUN) was dissolved on Nov 3.

“As he has always said, our Sarawakians’ lives are worth a lot more than just a few thousands,” Dr Sim added.

Dr Sim extended his appreciation and thanks to Sarawak Covid-19 Advisory Group (Scovag) and  Sarawak Disaster Management Committee (SDMC) for carrying on the mission on behalf of the Sarawak government after DUN was dissolved in ensuring the successful acquisition of the Ronapreve and the continuity of healthcare service for the people.

“We are also thankful to the MOH under the federal government for allowing us to buy this medicine for our people which will be deployed through public hospitals in Sarawak,” he said.

Ronapreve, a monoclonal antibody drug that combines casirivimab and imdevimab, is administered either by injection or infusion, acting at the lining of the respiratory system where it binds to the SARS-CoV-2 virus and prevents it from gaining access to cells.

It can be used on patients who are badly affected by Covid-19 and who are at more risk of their illness becoming severe.

It is also approved for preventing Covid-19 in people who have not mounted an antibody response against Covid-19 or have a medical condition that makes them unlikely to be protected by vaccination or are not vaccinated.

According to Health director-general Tan Sri Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah, recipients must be above the age of 12 who weigh at least 40kg and do not require respiratory assistance. — DayakDaily