The Department of Science and Technology (DOST) tapped the UP Philippine General Hospital to study the use of virgin coconut oil (VCO) as a possible treatment or cure to coronavirus disease 2019.
In a television interview, DOST Secretary Fortunato de la Peña said tests are being conducted on coconut oil as treatment for Covid 19. He said VCO, which has no known negative side effects, may initially be considered as health supplement.
A coronavirus patient in Bekasi, West Java, Indonesia has in fact claimed to have recovered from the disease after taking VCO.
According to newspaper reports, the patient, Monica Sihaloho, while in isolation, initially consumed two tablespoons of VCO without the knowledge of the doctor.
As her condition needed oxygen to breathe, she decided to drink a full bottle of VCO. The effect was immediately felt and her condition gradually improved.
On the fifth day of isolation, she was declared negative of Covid-19 and was allowed to go home. At home, she continued to regularly consume VCO.
In the Philippines, the DOST is continuing its research on the benefits of VCO. The DOST said its research on VCO has two arms: one hospital-based and one community-based.
For the hospital based, the study “Virgin Coconut Oil and Omega-3a Adjunctive Therapy for Hospitalized Patients with COVID 19” will be conducted at the Philippine General Hospital (UP-PGH) and will be led by Dr. Marissa Alejandria.
The VCO will serve as a supplement to the daily treatment regimen of the Covid-19 positive patients. The study aims to assess the possible benefits of VCO if given to patients with moderate to severe Covid-19 in addition to the drugs being assessed in the clinical trials.
This arm may possibly run for a minimum of one month or until the minimum number of patients have been achieved. This is in cooperation with the DOST and the UP-PGH Clinical Covid-19 Research Group and the Metro Manila Health Research and Development Consortium of the Philippine Council for Health Research and Development (DOST PCHRD).
Parallel to this will be the research for the persons under investigation (PUIs) which will be conducted at isolation facilities in communities and hospitals in the National Capital Region and Region IV-A in collaboration with DOST CALABARZON and the Philippine Coconut Authority (PCA).
The Food and Nutrition Research Institute (DOST-FNRI) will take the lead in the community-based study and will incorporate VCO in the food provided to the PUIs. The study aims to assess the possible benefits provided by VCO for patients with COVID-19 as well as contacts and other high-risk groups.
The project team is planning to conduct the same to their previous intervention studies and the dietary supplementation may possibly run for at least 4 weeks. The study will be done in cooperation with the DOST-PCHRD and the Philippine Coconut Authority.