Philippines Study Coconut Oil as Potential Treatment for COVID-19 Disease
The Philippines is studying the virgin coconut oil as a possible treatment for COVID-19.
The novel coronavirus keeps on spreading across the world. Currently, the development of several vaccines that could help prevent the spread of the virus is ongoing. However, researchers in the Philippines are testing virgin coconut oil if it will help combat COVID-19, according to Dr.Jaime Montoya, executive director of the Philippine Council of Health Research and Development of the Department of Science and Technology (PCHRD-DOST).
Montoya told NutraIngeredientAsia that coconut oil and its derivatives underwent studies for its anti-viral properties. He added that VCO needs to be tested against COVID-19. Meanwhile, in a formal statement published by the Ateneo de Manila University, Dr. Fabian Dayrit from the university and Dr.Mary Newport of Spring Hill Neonatology (USA) proposed potential coconut oil as a safe agent against the virus.
According to BusinessWorld, scientists are aware of virgin coconut oil's anti-viral properties. They firmly believe that the Philippines can add value to VCO and produce a food supplement to enhance the immune systems against COVID-19 infection. It can also be medicine with its therapeutic claims approved by the Food and Drug Administration or the other FDAs in the world.
Dr. Dayrit said that the PCHRD of DOST provided funds to undertake three research on virgin coconut oil for fighting the coronavirus. The first study is an in-vitro, which was held in Singapore. Then, there was a randomized controlled trial (RCT) on persons under investigation (PUIs), which the Food and Nutrition Research Institute did. Lastly, there was another RCT done by UP Manila on COVID-19 patients at the Philippine General Hospital.
The research studies supported by PCHRD are incidental and not part of the Philippine Department of Health program to make a food supplement or medicine from virgin coconut oil. This research type was funded and supported by PCHRD and allocated funds to R&D related to COVID-19.
Aside from the list of COVID-19 studies that PCHRD is funding, there is likely no new research money from billions of pesos the institution spends fighting the pandemic. There are no more funds to contribute to a strategic R&D program for the VCO-related study to fight coronavirus. Dr.Dayrit said that the DoST is willing to strategically think about the effort and not just use existing PCHRD funds on the highly relevant and timely research. However, it cannot work without a directive from the national leaders and vital new funds and administrative support to continue the program.
In the meantime, clinical trials were conducted by the Department of Science and Technology-Food and Nutrition Research Institute (DOST-FNRI) on VCO as a food supplement to treat probable COVID-19 cases in one of the provinces of the Philippines to show high recovery rates.
DOST assistant scientist and DOST-FNRI officer-in-charge of the Nutritional Assessment and Monitoring Division; leads the DOST-FNRI VCO clinical trials in Santa Rosa, Dr. Imelda Agdeppa, said that they saw practically a 100% recovery of the subjects in the trial.
Dr. Agdeppa claims that out of 47 participants, 30 of them finished the program and successfully went home, as per Philstar Global. However, Dr. Agdeppa declined to state that those who went home have officially recovered.
Agdeppa admitted, "Of course, they are considered recovered because they would not be sent home if they are still sick."
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