UNAIR Pharmacy Webinar reviews process of Covid-19 drug development and clinical trials

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UNAIR NEWS – One of the most awaited things in COVID-19 pandemic is the production of drugs and antivirus, which are still in the development and clinical trial stages. In order to share information and knowledge regarding this matter, Faculty of Pharmacy (FF) Universitas Airlangga (UNAIR) held a webinar on Development of New Medicinal Products for Handling COVID-19.

The event which was held on Monday, August 3, 2020 was opened by the Dean of Faculty of Pharmacy Prof. Dr. Umi Athiyyah, MS., Apt. which refers to pharmaceutical workers as experts on drugs that play a vital role in the effort to deal with COVID-19. UNAIR which has had great responsibilities and made contributions during the pandemic, especially UNAIR pharmacists, are expected to carry out clinical innovations progressively.

The first speaker, Prof. Dr. apt. Siswandono, MS as Professor of Medical Chemistry Faculty of Pharmacy presented material on how to develop new molecules as candidates for the COVID-19 drug. One of the natural resources from Indonesia which according to him has the potential to be an antiviral drug for COVID-19 is the rhizome of fingerroot.

“The rhizome of fingerroot plant contains 1 – 2% pinostrobin, which means that it has a high antiviral effect. Pinostrobin can inhibit the herpes simplex virus-1. It can be further developed into a compound that is effective against COVID-19, ” he said.

Meanwhile, Professor of Pharmaceutics Prof. Dr. apt. Dwi Setyawan, M.Si presented material on research and development of COVID-19 pharmaceutical products. According to him, in developing COVID-19 antiviral drugs, apart from having to go through a strict selection process, pharmaceutical personnel must also have a comprehensive understanding of API (active pharmaceutical ingredient) and excipients.

“Knowledge of these two things is important so that in the future there are no surprises or regrets, in Javanese term, getun. Because both are able to affect the stability and sustainability of pharmaceutical products,” said the Vice Dean II UNAIR Faculty of Pharmacy.

In his opinion, a pharmaceutical product would not be good enough just to pass a series of tests. Pharmaceutical products must have long-term quality related to durability, quality, and consistency of curing ability. In terms of medicinal substances, for example, experts must pay attention to the chemical name, chemical structure, BM purity, therapeutic effect, to the estimated dose.

Then the final speaker, UNAIR Vice Rector IV who is also Faculty of Pharmacy UNAIR Biopharmaceuticals Prof. apt. Junaidi Khotib, M.Kes., Ph.D shared information on pre-clinical and clinical trials for COVID-19 drug development. Prof. Junaidi revealed that there are differences in the development of COVID-19 drugs compared to other drugs.

If the usual drug development process takes years, the clinical trial process for COVID-19 drugs has its own stages due to an emergency. This stage starts with the target, pre-clinical, and partner. Then proceed with the development of clinical and safety efficacy, followed by development, scale-up of test products and finally the industrial scale.

“The clinical trial stage is carried out by a solidarity trial among various countries and the last progress removed chloroquine and lopinavir from the list of potential medicinal ingredients. Likewise with UNAIR’s drug development landscape. Almost the same,” said the expert member of drug standardization and PKRT BPOM RI.

In the webinar moderated by Dr. apt. Retno Sari, M.Sc. The speakers also said that pharmacists are now working hard to develop a drug for COVID-19 as quickly as possible. But keep in mind that the lengthy development process is only to assure quality of the drug for the patients. Therefore, both the public and pharmaceutical personnel must have a proper understanding of the development of antiviral drugs for COVID-19.

Author: Intang Arifia
Editor: Feri Fenoria

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