The Agriculture Ministry has developed a eucalyptus-based treatment that it claims has been shown to reduce the transmission of COVID-19. The ministry expects it to play a role in the fight against the virus.
The ministry announced the treatment on Friday, saying it was based on lab tests conducted by agricultural researchers.
Agriculture Minister Syahrul Yasin Limpo said the treatment had been tested on influenza as well as beta and gamma coronaviruses and was able to kill 80 to 100 percent of the viruses.
The Ministry’s Health Research and Development Agency (Balitbangtan) has developed a few prototypes of the medication in the form of inhalers, roll-ons, ointment, balms and diffusers.
“We will keep developing it for COVID-19 patients as the main target," Syahrul said in a statement on Friday.
"God willing, this could be successful. [...] I hope that this innovation can be distributed to the public soon.”
The ministry’s Health Research and Development Agency head Fajry Jufry said the product had shown “very good results” after being tested on COVID-19 patients, adding that the ministry was waiting for approval from related parties to distribute it.
Fajry said the antiviral medication was identified through agency research on various herbs and remedies, such as ginger, guava, temulawak (Curcuma) and essential oils.
There are about 700 species eucalyptus. Most are native to Australia. Its main component, eucalyptol, has been shown to have anti-inflammatory and antiviral effects, according to the US National Library of Medicine.
Fajry said that eucalyptus-based treatment could also be used to relieve respiratory tracts, eliminate mucus, disinfect wounds, relieve nausea and prevent mouth disease.
In April, South Sumatran scientists also claimed to have discovered a glucose-based snack that was effective at breaking down several major components of the novel coronavirus and inhibit its incubation.
The Ministry of Research and Technology’s COVID-19 research consortium, consisting of research institutes, universities, private companies and state-owned enterprises, is participating in global research efforts to find a vaccine or cure for COVID-19.