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The Indonesian Institute of Sciences (LIPI) began clinical trials of COVID-19 Botanical Drugs

Head of LIPI, Laksana Tri Handoko, said both medicines were immunomodulator drugs, which is a type of medication that stimulates or suppresses the components of the immune system including both innate and adaptive immune responses.

"The first medicine was made from Cordyceps militaris fungus, while the second was made from ginger, gripeweed, create or green chireta and Ngai camphor or sambong," Handoko said in a statement on Wednesday as reported

Cordyceps militaris is a fungus commonly found in the Himalayas and Tibet, but the fungus has been successfully cultivated and produced in Indonesia. Handoko explained that the fungus was widely used in herbal medicines in China, Korea and Tibet.

He said the clinical trials would be conducted on 90 COVID-19 patients treated at the Athletes Village COVID-19 hospital in Central Jakarta. The trial will be conducted in cooperation with the Health Ministry, the Association of Indonesian Doctors for the Development of Traditional and Herbal Medicine (PDPOTJI), The Indonesian Society of Respirology (PDPI), The Food and Drug Monitoring Agency (BPOM), and doctors at the Athletes Village hospital.

According to Handoko, it will be the first clinical trial of COVID-19 herbal medicines in the country.  "This clinical trial is a milestone in the development of medicines and supplements in Indonesia. If this trial succeeds, the medicines could potentially be the country's next prime export products."

A researcher from LIPI's Biotechnology Research Center, Masteria Yunovilsa Putra said the medicines were not only intended to help COVID-19 patients to recover but also to prevent people from contracting the disease, especially those who were categorized as people under surveillance (ODP) and patients under surveillance (PDP).

"LIPI started researching the medicines in March by examining our country's herbal commodities that have immunomodulatory properties," Masteria said, adding that Gadjah Mada University in Yogyakarta and pharmaceutical company Kalbe Farma also helped with the initial research.

Masteria said the initial results and analysis from the clinical trial were expected to come out in July.  

"If the medicines pass the clinical trials, we hope we can easily find the raw materials in the country," he said. (nal)

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