ABS Biodiscovery Case in Samoa
Isolating and deploying bioactive compounds from the fauna and flora for human medicines.
The use of herbal medicine by traditional healers as an alternative to modern medicine is a common practice in Samoa where the barks, leaves, roots and other parts of trees are used in several concoctions for the treatment of various illnesses.
Following traditional knowledge, in 1992, the bioactive phorbol prostratin was isolated from the samoan medicinal plant Mamala (Homalanthus nutans, euphorbiaceae) which was shown to have the ability to reduce HIV infection, as well as activate HIV replication in dormant HIV-carrier cells.
Recognizing the biomedical potential of plants, the Scientific Research Organization of Samoa and the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment (MNRE) are working in collaboration to continue these investigations started in Samoa in order to provide solid scientific evidence on the efficacy of Samoan plant extracts as potential inhibitors of organisms such as enzymes that initiated such illness.
The project screens bio-active compounds from terrestrial plant species and marine species through qualitative testings. It looks at all plants, not only those known as medicinal plants, thus, contributing to the management of natural forests. Read more on this biodiscovery case here.
The information derived from the research will drive further studies and create more employment opportunities for future generations and therefore contributes to the achievement of several Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) I.e. SDG 9 (Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure), SDG 14 (Life Below Water) and SDG 15 (Life on Land).
Watch here the message sent by Ms Gardenia Su´a, Research Scientist of the Research Organisation of Samoa in the occasion of the Women & Girls in Science Day.