MANILA, Philippines — With dosage limitations on virgin coconut oil due to its diarrheal effect, a University of the Philippines-Manila scientist leading the clinical trials on VCO as an adjunct cure for moderate to critical COVID-19 cases said that a study on the delivery using nasal spray or mouthwash is worth considering in the future.
“I think it’s something to explore,” said Dr. Marissa Alejandria as she acknowledged that her team has seen the diarrheal effect of VCO on a few COVID-19 patients that participated in clinical trials in UP-Philippine General Hospital (UP-PGH).
As project leader of the study funded by the Department of Science and Technology-Philippine Council for Health Research and Development, Alejandria spoke at a virtual media briefing with DOST and PCHRD officials on VCO and lagundi clinical trials as an adjunct treatment for COVID-19.
She pointed out that the SARS-CoV-2 virus causing COVID-19 had a high viral load in the upper respiratory epithelium which could be accessed by VCO delivered via a nasal spray or gargle.
“Maybe that’s the better formulation rather than oral. It’s something to study, (a) hypothesis worth exploring,” she said.
In the forum, the DOST revealed how results of the lagundi study showed that administering lagundi tablets to COVID-19 patients had decreased the symptoms of mild COVID-19 patients, especially for anosmia or loss of the sense of smell, and the overall relief of discomfort due to other symptoms.
On the other hand, the interim results of the VCO clinical trial showed that there was no difference detected in giving VCO and that the results need further evaluation.
There was also no established benefit yet for hospitalized patients as analysis of trial results is still ongoing, said Alejandria.
She said the dosage given to COVID-19 patients was set at 15 milliliters or one tablespoon of VCO three times a day for 14 days given after meals.
“Further study at the molecular level is needed to determine the actual effects of using VCO among hospitalized COVID-19 patients,” she said.
“We did not see a significant difference in terms of the duration of hospital stay and in the time to resolution of symptoms. We did not see also a difference in terms of patients progressing to ICU admission or to needing ventilation,” she added.
Alejandria also noted that there were recorded adverse events on those who were included in the VCO arm of participants.
“There were just four patients who had abdominal pain and diarrhea which needed discontinuation of the VCO in the VCO arm.
These are adverse events that have been reported, usually seen already on patients receiving VCO,” she said.
(This article, written by Rainier Allan Ronda, was first published in the Philippine Star Website on November 1, 2021)