KUALA LUMPUR, July 28 — The implementation of virtual Covid-19 Assessment Centre (CAC) in Greater Klang Valley will ensure early monitoring of all positive cases, decongest the physical CACs and enable these CACs to focus on symptomatic patients.
Infectious diseases expert Prof Datuk Dr Adeeba Kamarulzaman of Universiti Malaya said with the virtual CAC, patients who are asymptomatic or mildly symptomatic, as well as those who need to remove their pink wristband no longer need to walk into the CACs.
“The virtual CAC can help manage the overcrowding problem faced by the physical CACs such as Stadium Malawati that saw a large crowd where at one time up to 2,000 patients came to the CAC just to get their pink wristband removed.
“So, hopefully with the virtual CAC, the physical CACs can now focus on those with symptoms who may need treatment and triaging to either the Covid-19 Quarantine and Low-Risk Treatment Centre (PKRC) at the Malaysia Agro Exposition Park Serdang (MAEPS) or to hospitals,” she said in a virtual press conference.
Dr Adeeba, who is also a World Health Organisation (WHO) Science Council member, said the main aim of the virtual CAC, set up early last week was to reduce mortality and bed utilisation in hospitals and quarantine centres, as well as infections.
She said with the virtual CAC, Covid-19 category one and two patients only need to inform their condition through the MySejahtera app and respond to a few questions, as well update their symptoms, which are then monitored virtually, instead of having to go physically to the CACs.
“The key thing about Covid-19 is that the majority of patients have minimal or no symptoms, but a proportion will progress where about 20 per cent will go to the severe stage, usually in the second week of the illness. But with the virtual CAC, we will able to detect them early before they progress to such a stage where they can no longer be treated.
“So, if we can monitor them well at home using the automated system, backed by either the general practitioners or call centre and with people monitoring the alerts on the dashboard (MySejahtera), then we can minimise physical contact and at the same time, focus on sicker patients,” she said.
Meanwhile, she said the effectiveness of third dose of a Covid-19 vaccine or the booster jab should be debated on and studied in depth before any decision could be made on its usage in the country.
She said experts in the United States (US) including from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) had stated that it was not to be recommended at this moment.
“Studies conducted in the US and Europe currently are using the messenger ribonucleic acid (mRNA) vaccine and also the AstraZeneca vaccine, and although Pfizer has been sending out signals that booster doses may be needed, some experts have a different opinion .and the vaccines are being studied quite intensively.
“Meanwhile, the experience of other countries and scientific literature on the China-made Sinopharm and Sinovac vaccines are less compared to the mNRA and AstraZeneca vaccines….we do not know the level and duration of immune response of the vaccines and this too needs to be studied,” she said.
On the use of a mixture of vaccines, known as “heterologous prime-boost”, Dr Adeeba said a number of studies had found that the use of vaccines from different technologies such as AstraZeneca with Pfizer or Moderna for the first and second dose had shown very good immune response.
“This is very promising as a technique to boost the immune response .this is very interesting but practically, it may not be easy to mix the vaccines,” she added. — Bernama