Drug Discovery: A Biodiversity Perspective
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Conventional drug discovery is believed to be much slower than the emerging of diseases. It could also cost pharmaceutical companies hundreds of million of dollars with no guarantee that the process would be a successful one. Therefore, new alternatives for drug discovery methods are urgently required.
Nature has been known as long as human history as very rich sources for various types of human needs including as medicinal sources. By implementing the concept of antigen versus antibody, venom versus antidote somehow taught us that Mother Nature has provided us the cures for every disease. It is just a matter of how to find the right drug for particular disease which is already available in the nature. In the United States of America alone, approximately 50% of drugs recognized by the Food and Drug Administration from the year 1981 until the year 2010 were originated from natural product pure extracts or their derivatives.
This chapter briefly described the power of nature as the abundant sources to find drugs for different kinds of illnesses include the challenges associated with the drug discovery process. By virtue of biodiversity both on land and in oceans, researchers can collect as many as possible extracts (extract library) that can be utilized as medicines through screening process. Drug discovery through screening process utilizing natural products can become a solution of the slow and expensive drug discovery process using conventional way. By the advancement of screening technology such as high throughput screening, thousands of extracts and or bioactive compounds can be screened against different types of diseases only in one day. The availability of extract library allows the acceleration of drug discovery in a faster and cheaper way.
Indonesia as one of the richest country in the world in biodiversity has high potential in providing a large collection of extracts for drug discovery purposes. One of potential plants as medicinal sources is Mangrove. Mangroves and mangrove associates widely spread along roughly 90,000 km Indonesian coastline. Indonesia is home of about 20 family with about hundreds species of mangroves and their associates. Indonesia has the largest mangrove forest or about 23% of total world mangrove forests. Taken altogether, Indonesia offers invaluable medicinal sources. This opens up many opportunities for collaboration among researchers nationally and internationally.
KeywordsNatural products Biodiversity Extract library Drug discovery Screening
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