New South East Asia Financial : Can Malaysia develop a COVID-19 Vaccine?

By Neil Foo

Kuala lumpur — Thousands of people around the world are undergoing human vaccination experiments trials by the COVID-19 Vaccine development program carried out by China, the United States and Europe are in intensive progress.

However, this process generally takes at least one year or 18 months historically.

The discovery of vaccines may be faster than expected ! ?

Many institutions are trying to speed up the development of vaccines and clinical trials as everyone’s wish in this world to stop the disease to continue to hurt us.

The pandemic has led to economic shutdown, business failure, employee retrenchment, etc.. which even may bring social unrest.

As of now, China, the United States, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Switzerland, Turkey and Singapore have announced by promising to invest funds and expertise  to develop vaccines.

In nearly 200 new COVID-19 Vaccine development plans, 10 vaccines are about to end the second phase of testing, and about 4 of them will enter the third phase of clinical trials in two weeks.

In Southeast Asia, in addition to Singapore’s progress, Indonesia has announced the research and development (R&D) visionary plan of a COVID-19 Vaccine lately to combat the deadly century pandemic!

The Indonesian COVID-19 Vaccine Development Consortium’s goal is to complete the development of a local vaccine within the next 18 months to eradicate the country’s coronavirus.

In addition to conducting on local R&D of vaccines by themselves, Indonesia also cooperates with many countries including South Korea to develop vaccines. For example, local pharmaceutical company PT Kalbe Farma is working with a Korean company to develop a vaccine using a DNA virus platform.

What about us?

Is Malaysia likely to develop a COVID-19 Vaccine?

Former Finance Minister Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah said although Malaysia has registered low infection rates, there could still be numerous people in the country who are Covid-19 positive but asymptomatic.

He attributed this to Malaysia’s porous borders, millions of migrant workers, as well as a majority of citizens who have yet to be tested.

Tengku Razaleigh said relevant agencies should test as many people as possible and take a page from other countries by way of contact tracing.

He also said that Malaysia should be realistic in terms of achieving zero cases, as it may not be sustainable to maintain such a streak until a vaccine is found.

Ku Li cited the example of Beijing registering zero Covid-19 for 56 days until one case broke their streak on June 10. On June 14, the numbers surged to 51 cases.

He said even New Zealand, a secluded island of five million people, reported two new cases on June 17 after a 24-day streak of zero cases.

New South East Asia Financial

He said it is hence the government’s primary duty to ensure that the standard operating procedures are implemented appropriately, besides providing the necessary healthcare and treatment to prepare the country for future waves of Covid-19 infections.

“Until a workable vaccine is found, we have to find the right balance on social measures needed to control future infections and how to carefully open up our damaged economy to stop the internal haemorrhage.”

The government had previously stated that the tourism sector, which was the worst hit, had suffered a loss of RM45 billion in the first half of the year.

It has also warned that there could be RM1 trillion in losses due to the collapse of the banking and financial systems if the economy does not open up soon.

He also called on the government as well as the financial sector to do much more to support, assist and facilitate genuine private sector initiatives in finding and securing a workable vaccine from reputable sources overseas.

Why should we develop or search for a COVID-19 Vaccine?

The new COVID-19 pandemic can be divided into 3 stages:

(1) The Surge period: the number of pre-confirmed cases are out of control and surge, the demand for anti-epidemic supplies are even larger surpassed the supplies ,hence the related bio-medical industry has been stimulated with its capacity. For example, PCR detectors, bedside monitoring systems, ventilators, etc.,

(2) The Mitigation period: It is expected to continue until the end of this year or the beginning of next year. The pandemic is basically controlled, but there are still sporadic cases. The flow of people is gradually liberalized, and most enterprises resumed work, and all industries are in a period of “trembling” recovery.

(3) The Eradication period: The vaccine was successfully developed and mass-produced. All the countries in the world independently developed or found imports, injecting vaccines to the people as soon as possible, entering a new life, economic recovery, and no longer worry about the recurrence of the epidemic.

As the matter of fact, vaccines are one of the biggest achievements in the field of public health and vaccination is the most cost-effective way to prevent and control infectious diseases.

With the vaccine, humans around the world can move freely and the borders can be reopened without any worries and this will definitely help to drive economic recovery.

Vaccines are mainly divided into first-class vaccines and second-class vaccines.

First-class vaccines, refer to vaccines provided to citizens by free of charge by government.

Second-class vaccines, refer to other vaccines that are voluntarily received by citizens at their own expense.

The COVID-19 pandemic made everyone more aware of the importance of vaccines.

The world population base of 8 billion people in the world contains a huge demand for vaccines. In recent years, the output value of the global vaccine market has increased year by year. It is estimated that the output value will reach more than USD100 billion  (RM420 billion) by 2030.

Why are those local universities and the foreign higher institutions in Malaysia have not been heard of the news to any participation of finding the pandemic vaccine?

At present, if Malaysia is too late to develop COVID-19 Vaccine by themselves, the government, financial sector, higher education institutions, and the private sector can work together with the 200 laboratories abroad to seek cooperative in the research development work.

Malaysia, as a proclaimed higher education hub in Southeast Asia, the United States, United Kingdom, Australia, New Zealand’s universities have been here for many years.

Are the courses here just limited to the departments of very basic and market oriented courses like accounting, business management, actuarial science, psychology, dentistry, physical therapy?

Under the pandemic, let’s not sit back and watch, Ku Li, who is a little hopeful has woke up. Likewise, if Indonesia can do it , why can’t us ?

Malaysia boleh, let’s find vaccine together !

  Gua Musang MP Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah says Malaysia should be realistic in terms of achieving zero cases, as it may not be sustainable to maintain such a streak until a vaccine is found.

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