The more than three-year-long coronavirus crisis has put pressure on every country to find ways to “live with COVID-19” in a sustainable way.
Recently, Professor Piyamitr Sritara, MD, FRCPT, FACP, Dean of the Faculty of Medicine, Ramathibodi Hospital, Mahidol University, as one of the sub-committees to advance the bio-circular-green (BCG) economic model in medicine and vaccines , which is one of the 10 goals of Thailand’s economy development strategy, joined the meeting to exchange experiences with working groups from 21 Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) member states. The meeting discussed ways to rescue the economy from the COVID-19 crisis and prepare for the new wave of epidemics. Among all sectors, Mahidol University, one of the leading institutions of higher education in the country, is fully aware of playing an important role in advancing BCG policy, with its strong potential to help develop the economy of this region in many clusters such as food and agriculture, as well as medicine and welfare.
Professor MD Piyamitr stressed that strengthening stability and stimulating economic growth should focus on creating value through the process of interdisciplinary use of technology, recycling and recycling, maximum use of life cycle and zero waste as part of this BCG policy. Mahidol University can add value to food and agricultural products through the development of nutraceuticals, biotechnology production and precision agriculture, apart from the field of medicine and health concerning precision medicine, genomic technology, the development of herbal and herbal products that together contain bioactive compounds. with the promotion of being a medical center, and others.
Within the framework of APEC, the strengthening of international cooperation in knowledge development, business networking and mobility of high-potential personnel is another important element. It works in tandem with the concept of sufficiency economy to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) related to food security, energy security, career security and sustainable ecosystem.
Teacher. Piyamitr Srithara, MD also shared successful experiences of previous related research studies from Faculty of Medicine, Ramathibodi Hospital, Mahidol University. One of them is in collaboration with the Thai Center of Excellence for Life Sciences (public body), or TCELS, which discovered extracts of panduratin A and pinostrobin in Thai white galingale plants that have an inhibitory effect on the COVID-19 virus in vitro. In cooperation with the private sector, research has extended the results to develop health products and then, by partnering with communities, help support the sustainability of the country’s economy. An example of the communities in Nan province was given for the problem of the invasion and destruction of the forest for the cultivation of maize to supply industrial factories. But the rewards aren’t worth it as agriculture uses up a huge area, shrinking the forest by 28%. The Nan Forest Conservation Project was thus initiated and developed into “Nan Sandbox” based on the idea of Mr. Banthoon Lamsam, Chairman Emeritus of Kasikornbank Public Company Limited to restore forest land, which is currently underway.
With cooperation between Nan community residents, government, the private sector and researchers from institutions of higher education, including Mahidol University, the project agreed to plant forests at a ratio of 100 trees per 1 rai of land, using the free space between each tree. to capitalize on it by planting valuable cash crops that can grow in the shade of tall trees, including white galingale herbaceous plants that show inhibitory activity against COVID-19.
The project also focused on promoting the cultivation of medicinal plants of turmeric which is recognized in Thailand and Asia as a medicinal plant with “curcuminoid” which is a powerful antioxidant with medicinal properties that can be transformed into many products. pharmaceuticals.
Regardless of the duration and continuity of the COVID-19 crisis, Mahidol University stands ready to uphold the “wisdom of the earth” and maintain its commitment to developing research to create a body of knowledge for the survival of the nation and humanity.