A team from the Mona campus of the University of the West Indies (UWI) has won the Minister's Innovation Awards for 2012 for its pioneering treatment for high blood sugar and high blood pressure.
The 'Novel Treatment Against Hyperglycemia and Hypertension' was adjudged as likely to be the most significant in its effect on the scientific and technological world and topped a field of 177 entrants in the awards competition developed by the Ministry of Science, Technology, Energy and Mining.
The team comprising Dr Lisa Lindo of the Biochemistry Department, Dr Trevor Yee of the Natural Products Institute, and Professor Paul Reese of the Chemistry Department received the Champions Innovator of the Year trophy.
In addition, the treatment also won the Health and Wellness category, earning the team a further J$750,000.
"This is a great feeling," said Lindo, explaining that the team used the eucalyptus plant in its experiment and found that extracts were doing better than some popular drugs now in use to lower hypertension and blood sugar.
She said they were in the process of patenting the drug and looking forward to have it produced as a supplement to be taken orally.
"It is really great, because now I am thinking that we can look into more research, more into folklore medicine. We know that everybody looks into drinking these plants, but we don't really know what is in these plants causing the effects, so now we have now proved, in this case, what is really in it and what it is good for," she added.