TEMPO.CO, Jakarta - The Agricultural Research and Development Agency of the Agriculture Ministry clarified the controversy over an antivirus necklace made from eucalyptus that was claimed to have the potential to kill the novel coronavirus that caused the COVID-19.
Agency head Fadjry Djufry revealed that the product's patent license obtained from the Food and Drug Monitoring Agency (BPOM) was only a herbal product. “This is still categorized as a herbal product, and does not violate Indonesia’s existing rules,” he said in an online press conference on Monday, July 6.
The aromatherapy necklace was one of the five products invented by the Agriculture Ministry. The four others are roll-on products, balms, oil diffusers, and inhalers. However, only three have earned BPOM patent numbers, viz. the aromatherapy necklace, the oil roll-on, and the inhaler.
Based on the BPOM’s distribution permit, the eucalyptus-based product was classified as herbal medicine or jamu. To be used as an antiviral drug against COVID-19, the product must pass pre-clinical trials and clinical trials. “So there is no claim [it is a COVID-19 antivirus product],” Fadjry underlined.
The ministry’s products, he went on, had passed several stages up to the verification process to obtain a distribution permit. “So the herbal product only requires laboratory results and testimonial trials.”
While the product could not be patented as a drug or a vaccine to fend off the novel coronavirus as it requires a long stage of clinical trials, Fadjri opined the eucalyptus-based product has the potential to kill the novel coronavirus.
To support the local products, his side did not rule out any input and criticism for its development. “We accept suggestions and input. We have also clarified that we do not overclaim the product,” Fadjri noted.