National level achievement, three Faculty of Veterinary Medicine students propose idea for Covid-19 antiviral candidates

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Suwaibatul Annisa (top left) Ratna Wahyuning Prastiwi (top right) and Diva Salsabilla (bottom) after their online presentation. (Personal Doc.)

UNAIR NEWS – The COVID-19 pandemic did not stop three students of Faculty of Veterinary Medicine (FKH) Universitas Airlangga (UNAIR) to make achievement at national level. Suwaibatul Annisa (class of 2017) with two of her friends Diva Salsabilla (class of 2017) and Ratna Wahyuning Prastiwi (class of 2017) managed to get 2nd place in 2020 Public Health National Competition (PHNC) held by the Research and Achievement Department of Student Executive Board (BEM), Faculty of Public Health UNAIR. 

When confirmed by the UNAIR NEWS team, Suwaibatul Annisa explained that their wish to take part in the national competition was to convey their group’s ideas. She also wanted to show that veterinary medicine students have a broad field of science.

“Actually, studying at FKH is not only about animals, but can also be beneficial for human health,” she said.

After going through the paper selection, the FKH UNAIR team together with nine other teams from UI, UNDIP, UGM, ITB, UII, UB, ITS, and UPI presented their works on Saturday, October 10, 2020. In 2020 PHNC presentation, Suwaibatul Annisa or Ica and her team proposed an idea, “In Silico Screening of bioactive compounds in Indonesian herbal plants as antiviral candidates for Covid-19”.

“This idea is important for us especially at a critical time like now. The cure for COVID-19 has not been yet found. Besides, the biodiversity in Indonesia is also extraordinary,” said Ica to UNAIR NEWS on Tuesday, October 13, 2020.

She added, in silico screening with molecular docking was chosen as the main method because it was considered effective in matching proteins and ligands before being tested in vitro or in vivo in order to find a drug that could cure COVID-19. Ica and the team tried to conduct screening in silico bioactive components of 6 herbs Indonesia, Abrus precatorius, Euphorbia tirucall, Sonchus arvensis, Calophyllum sp., Glochidion sp. and Clerodendrum minahassae against the 3CL pro protein receptor ( main protease SARS-COV-2) using a molecular docking method to determine the energy of the bond between the formed ligand-receptor complexes.

“We hope is that this idea can be followed up so the potential of Indonesian herbal plants can be explored, especially to ‘conquer’ the pandemic, considering that until now the COVID-19 medicine has not been found,” she concluded. (*)

Author: Muhammad Suryadiningrat

Editor: Nuri Hermawan

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