MANILA — The Department of Science and Technology (DOST) on Wednesday said that it will be conducting tests on coconut oil and how it can be used as treatment for COVID-19.
“This research of the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) on virgin coconut oil (VCO) is planned to have two arms: one hospital-based and one community-based,” DOST Secretary Fortunato de la Peña said in a statement.
He said the hospital-based study, entitled “Virgin Coconut Oil and Omega-3a Adjunctive Therapy for Hospitalized Patients with COVID 19,” will be conducted at the Philippine General Hospital (UP-PGH) by the team of Dr. Marissa Alejandria.
“The VCO will serve as a supplement to the daily treatment regimen of the COVID-19 positive patients,” De la Peña said. “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.”
De la Peña said the study may last for at least one month or until they reach the minimum number of patients required.
Also participating in the study is 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).
He said another study will be led by the Food and Nutrition Research Institute (DOST-FNRI) at quarantine facilities in Metro Manila and Calabarzon with the help of DOST CALABARZON and the Philippine Coconut Authority (PCA).
Coconut oil will be incorporated in the food provided to patients under investigation for COVID-19.
“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,” De la Peña said. “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.”
There are now 2,311 confirmed COVID-19 cases in the Philippines. There are over 800,000 cases worldwide.
There is no vaccine or cure yet for the new strain of coronavirus although the World Health Organization has begun what it calls the "Solidarity Trial," a multi-country clinical test on four drugs and combinations that might be effective in treating patients with COVID-19.