SERDANG, May 29 — Diabetes patients with hard-to-heal wounds could soon have access to a more affordable and effective treatment based on rotten starfruit bacteria and bittergourd extract.
A Universiti Putra Malaysia (UPM) research team led by Professor Rosfarizan Mohamad explained that the medicated wound dressing used a combination of rotten starfruit materials (known as “locally isolated bacterium”) and bittergourd substance (“silver nanoparticles preparation”).
This new product will also cost less than the average RM30 price for similar products from overseas and can heal various wounds in a shorter period, the UPM Biotechnology and Biomolecular Sciences faculty professor added.
“Current products that are available in the market now cost about RM30 for 15g,” she explained.
Similar products usually come in 15g packaging.
Rosfarizan said the plan is to sell the product for less than RM30 per 15g, which makes it more affordable, especially for the B40 lower income group.
As for the product’s effectiveness, she said: “Overseas products could require more than 48 hours for wounds to heal, but our product takes less than 48 hours.”
She also pointed out that the product can be used to treat all kinds of wounds, but the team is focusing on diabetes-related wounds as these are difficult to heal.
The research project started in 2016 and is expected to conclude by 2021. The team began their research with a RM50,000 grant from UPM, and they are in the process of getting another RM250,000 grant from the Ministry of Higher Education for further research, she added.
It is estimated that there are currently three million diabetes patients in Malaysia and the government spends an estimated RM2.04 billion a year on their treatment, as well as RM1 million yearly to clean diabetes-related wounds.
She is confident their product will help address this cost issue. Right now, the team is ready to meet with interested investors and companies for research and commercialisation purposes.