Clinical trials on virgin coconut oil (VCO) as treatment for COVID-19 are well underway with the enrollment of 77 COVID-19 patients to participate in the study, the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) said yesterday.
DOST Undersecretary for research and development Rowena Cristina Guevara, who chairs the Task Group on Vaccine Evaluation and Selection, said the trial proper has started and the participants range from asymptomatic, mild and moderate to severe cases of COVID-19.
“A total of 77 patients have been enrolled to the study in which 39 were under the VCO group and 38 were under the group receiving standard care only,” Guevara told The STAR.
The study is being conducted by the University of the Philippines-Philippine General Hospital (UP-PGH) and the DOST expects it to finish and release results by October or earlier.
The UP-PGH clinical trials on VCO had been given the green light by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in June last year at the height of the pandemic lockdowns in the country. Recruitment and enrollment of participants, however, started only last November.
The R&D study is one of four funded by the DOST to back up claims of the medicinal benefits of VCO especially in curing COVID-19.
One study conducted by the DOST-Food and Nutrition Research Institute (FNRI) in Santa Rosa, Laguna on suspected and probable COVID-19 cases in the Santa Rosa Community Hospital and the Santa Rosa Quarantine Facility, was completed last December and successfully showed that the administration of meals mixed with VCO sped up the recovery of participant-patients by at least five days.
Another DOST-funded study led by professor Fabian Antonio Dayrit of the Ateneo de Manila University, done in partnership with Duke University-National University of Singapore (Duke-NUS), was also completed last year and showed that VCO was able to cure COVID-19 at low viral load.
Separate DOST-funded clinical trials on VCO conducted by the FNRI in Valenzuela City are ongoing as a follow-up to the Santa Rosa City study.
Dela Peña had earlier voiced his desire for the UP-PGH to speed up the clinical trials to further boost VCO’s claim as a cure for the global scourge
(This article, written by Rainier Allan Ronda, was first published in the Philippine Star Website on August 9, 2021)