Materia Medica Malaysiana

March 2, 2007

World’s First Dengue Antiviral Herbal Drug?

Filed under: Uncategorized — malaysianmedicine @ 8:17 am

KUALA LUMPUR, March 1 (Bernama) — A group of Malaysian scientists have come up with what may eventually become the world’s first dengue antiviral drug based on herbal extracts.
The scientists, from the medical faculty of Universiti Malaya and the Universiti Malaya Medical Centre (PPUM), have produced an antiviral extract using the Artemisia herbal extract from China and seven local herbs.
Artemisia is a large, diverse genus of plants with between 200 and 400 species belonging to the daisy family.
Head of the Department of Microbiology at the university, Prof Sazaly Abu Bakar, said today the extract named “DENGIMM2” was the outcome of research undertaken together with a company, Autoimmune Sdn Bhd, which had funded the study since July 2004.
“This success is only the first step because it will take three or four more years before the product is ready for clinical use as it has to undergo toxicological, chemical and side-effects tests as well as attain approval.
“If the eventual DENGIMM2 capsule and pill are found to be suitable, then the drug will be the first in the world,” he said at the close of a research project on the study of the potential of local plant extracts on the treatment of dengue, here.
Sazaly said that while PPUM had comprehensive testing facilities, the success of the research depended on high financial cost which had to be garnered from elsewhere.
He said that in the first phase of research, Autoimmune Sdn Bhd had provided the formulation of the local extract for the study which resulted in isolating the dengue virus in an infected cell.
“The second phase of tests found that the extract had the potential to control the dengue virus and did not show any toxic impact on mice,” said Sazaly, who headed the research project.
He said that so far there was no effective vaccine or antiviral drug in the world to treat dengue although India, Vietnam and Thailand were taking efforts to produce an antiviral drug based on plant extracts.

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