FK Alumnus Presents Tuberculosis Vaccine Research in 20 Countries

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Satria Arief Wibowo, alumnus of Medicine undergraduate program, Faculty of Medicine Universitas Airlangga. (Photo: Special)

UNAIR NEWS – Great prevalence of tuberculosis has inspired some countries to develop tuberculosis vaccine research. One of the researchers is Satria Arief Wibowo, alumnus of Medicine undergraduate program, Faculty of Medicine Universitas Airlangga, who is currently taking his doctoral degree in London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine.

His research has shown significant improvement. In his first and second year of doctoral study, he tested his vaccine candidate to animals. In the third year, Satria and team tested it for human trial. Last March 2017, he started the human trial in Romania.

“Our team collaborates with lots of Eastern European countries such as Romania, Belarus and Lithuania where the prevalence of TB is still high,” he said.

Satria focuses on developing therapeutic vaccination strategy for TB. It works by combining vaccination and medication. This combination is expected to shorten the therapy and improve the survival rate of TB patients either adult or children.

From the observation so far, generally, TB vaccine needs special strategic as Mycobacterium tuberculosis is an intracellular organism so cell-mediated immunity plays greater role than antibody based response.

“TB germs have ability to lay dormant or known as persistent TB germs. So in our vaccine candidate we test, we developed latency antigens so the persistent TB germs can be identified by the immune system and tackled completely,” said Satria.

The plan is, the research will be conducted until midyear of 2018 and be the final part of his doctoral thesis.

Establish relation with other countries’ researchers

This research involves some students from pediatric specialist medical program and others students of medicine. Satria became the youngest researchers from South East Asia.

Satria has been to 26 countries in Europe and Africa for research, presentation of the research in some congress and strengthening relation with other research. The research he presented was “New Approaches to Vaccines for Tropical Diseases” in Keystone Symposia Congress in South Africa which was funded by Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation in May 2016.

In the congress attended by delegations from 50 countries, Satria was one and only representative from Indonesia.

Besides in South Africa, Satria has also presented his research in hundreds of global researchers in “Congress 47th World Conference of International Union against Tuberculosis” in Liverpool, the United Kingdom, in October 2016.

“I’m thankful to be involved in this great scale of international research. Things I learn from this is that doctors as clinical personnel should not only treat patients in hospital. They have opportunity to be involved in research activity. The objective is to produce medical innovation for patients,” he said.

Long ago, Satria took his undergraduate program in FK UNAIR and became a doctor in March 2014, when he was 21 years old.

The alumnus of SMPN 1 and SMAN 5 Surabaya got into UNAIR through academic performance channel or known as SNMPTN in 2008. He was still 15 years old. When usually student that age is still in Class I senior high school, Satria was already a medical student.

After graduated from undergraduate program, Satria applied for doctorate in London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine. With a recommendation of Prof. Tjip S. Van Der Erf, infectious disease expert, and through an interview via Skype with London School of Hygiene and Tropical MedicineSatria  finally accepted as doctoral students with scholarship even without master degree.

“I am thankful, at my 24 years of age, I have had opportunity to visit 35 countries in the world. Those visits have opened my eyes, for diversity in value, social and cultural system which affects the healthcare service system and research development of a country,” said Satria who was the Outstanding Student of FK UNAIR in 2012.

Author: Sefya H. Istighfarica

Editor: Defrina Sukma S

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