Papaya leaf juice, known to treat dengue fever, could now be turned into pills for easy consumption thanks to groundbreaking research by scientists at the University of Nottingham’s Malaysia Campus (UNMC).

Leading the research at UNMC, Assoc Prof Dr Ching Lik Hii said the team is targeting the active bio-compound ‘carpain’ found in the papaya leaves which could increase blood platelets and help reduce internal bleeding.

“We are also looking at whether the younger leaves or the older leaves contain more ‘carpain’, and also whether the stems of the papaya plant could also be useful,” he said in a statement.

He said rampant cases of dengue fever in Malaysia and other countries with similar climates were the source of his inspiration.

“People are dying and more people are being infected as the Aedes mosquito population grows and becomes more active.

“This global problem inspired me to look for something that is a well-known traditional plant based remedy and make it much easier to process and consume,” said Dr Ching.

The team is targeting the active bio-compound ‘carpain’ found in the papaya leaves, which could increase blood platelets and help reduce internal bleeding.

Papaya leaf juice has for a long time been used in some areas of India and South East Asia as a treatment for dengue fever. A compound in the juice called ‘carpain’ is known to help with blood

Dengue is a mosquito-born viral infection found in tropical and sub-tropical climates and tends to be concentrated in urban and semi-urban areas.

The infection causes flu-like symptoms and can develop into a potentially fatal form of the disease – Dengue Haemorrhagic Fever.

The incidence worldwide has grown dramatically in recent decades with severe dengue now a leading cause of hospitalisation and death among children and adults in Asia and Latin America. There is currently no vaccine for it.