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UGM develops antiviral drug for COVID-19

News Desk

The Jakarta Post

Yogyakarta  /  Thu, December 3, 2020  /  04:01 pm
UGM develops antiviral drug for COVID-19

An illustration of COVID-19 medicine. (Shutterstock/Zety Akhzar)

Gadjah Mada University (UGM) has been developing antiviral medication for COVID-19 that is projected to be ready for mass production in 2022, teaming up with PT Filipina Antiviral Indonesia (FAI).

The UGM deputy rector overseeing cooperation and alumni, Paripurna Sugarda, said a memorandum of understanding [MoU] of the partnership was signed in October by UGM rector Panut Mulyono and PT FAI president director Mario Pacurso Marcos.

“Today, PT FAI joined the UGM Industry Research Forum during which it explained the MoU with UGM, such as in developing medicines with anti-inflammatory and antiviral effects, including for COVID-19,” Paripurna told a virtual press conference on Wednesday.

He added that UGM received a mandate from the government to produce medical kits to test COVID-19 vaccines, as well as an antiviral drug for the coronavirus in cooperation with several strategic partners.

He said the development was in the preparation and consultation phase with the Food and Drug Monitoring Agency (BPOM), the ethics committee, as well as the state pharmaceutical firm PT Kimia Farma, which is also to be involved in developing the formula of the medicine.

Meanwhile, PT FAI president director Mario Pacursa Marcos said as a highly reputable university in Indonesia and in Southeast Asia, he believed UGM was able to carry out this collaboration well and could contribute positively to the development of science and technology in the future.

“I hope we can make this collaboration successful and provide positive contributions to both countries, the Philippines and Indonesia,” said Marcos.

To support the research and development of the medicine, UGM and PT FAI are also collaborating in the development of a biotechnological laboratory of international standards to be established in the UGM Science Techno Park in Sleman regency, Yogyakarta.

Read also: Govt, UGM to distribute 11,000 free local test kits to clamp down on COVID-19

The laboratory is aimed at speeding up the down-streaming of UGM’s research.

“This is a comprehensive collaboration in which the support system is provided right from the development until the production stages,” the coordinator of UGM’s medicine development research team, Jarir At Thobari, told the forum.

Meanwhile, Health Ministry pharmaceutical production and distribution director Agusdini Banun Saptaningsih said the collaboration was in line with the ministry’s program of improving the country’s independence in medicine, vaccines, and medical devices.

“We hope this will […] bring in big advantages to this nation,” she said.

In the meantime, UGM has also set up a partnership with the Research and Technology Ministry in distributing 11,000 locally developed rapid test kits for free to hospitals and health agencies across the country. 

Called Republik Indonesia-Gadjah Mada Hepatika Airlangga (RI-GHA), the kits are developed by UGM and Airlangga University researchers. They are currently being mass-produced at the UGM Science and Techno Park.

“This kit has undergone a long process and [many] improvements to reach the right formula,” the test kit’s principal researcher, Sofia Mubarika, said last week in a statement. 

Sofia was speaking at the ceremonial handover of 1,500 test kits to the Sleman Health Agency at the Mlati II community health center in Mlati district, Sleman. (swa)

Editor’s note: This article is part of a public campaign by the COVID-19 task force to raise people’s awareness about the pandemic.

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