JOHOR BARU: Universiti Teknologi Malaysia (UTM) has successfully formulated a plant-based supplement from papaya leaf extract and virgin coconut oil to treat dengue patients.
What's more is that the product also has the potential to treat patients suffering from Zika virus infection.
Research and development on the supplement began in 2011 by a team of scientists headed by UTM's Bioproduct Development Institute chief researcher and senior lecturer Dr Harisun Yaakob (pic).
According to her, the supplement - in soft-gel capsule form with the brand name Anti D’ngue - also contains two types of herb and is produced using the nanotechnology.
“The normal practice in hospitals or clinics is to treat dengue patients by increasing the electrolytes in the body to reduce the high temperature and increase the blood platelet count," Dr Harisun told reporters in a press conference here on Thursday.
She said the supplement helps to stop both the dengue and Zika viruses from further spreading into the body's immune system.
“What makes our product different from others in the market is that it comes in capsules whereas existing products are based on papaya juice," she said, adding that Anti D’ngue was being patented.
Dr Harisun said the university is willing to work with other research-based institutions to conduct in-depth studies to come out with preventive measures against the Zika virus.
She said the funding for the five-year R&D for the product came in the form of RM300,000 in grants from the Higher Education Ministry and UTM.
Dr Harisun said that for a start, 500 bottles of Anti D’ngue would be marketed next month priced between RM60 and RM80 per bottle of 30 capsules.
She said the capsules were suitable for all dengue patients regardless of age, including pregnant women, and also those who have received treatment from hospitals or clinics.