The first of three clinical trials conducted by the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) on Virgin Coconut Oil (VCO) as supplement for the treatment of COVID-19 showed promise with the majority of patients involved in the study sent home.
The fact that majority of the patients are now home is a good indication, DOST Secretary Fortunato dela Pena said in Pilipino at a Laging Handa press briefing on Tuesday.
"Pero kahit sila ay nakauwi na, itinutuloy pa rin iyong protocol. Sila ay bibigyan pa rin ng VCO (Still, the protocol remains. They will still be given VCO)," he added.
The secretary said the study requires more participants to forge a better conclusion.
Dela Pena said the initial study was conducted at the Sta. Rosa Community Hospital and it involved 45 patients with mild symptoms. They were given VCO after meals for 28 days.
The second trial with 50 patients will be held soon at the Philippine General Hospital (PGH).
The third trial will be in Singapore.
The study aims to assess the possible benefits of VCO if given to patients with moderate to severe COVID-19 in addition to other drugs being assessed in the clinical trials.
Last week, clinical trials for "lagundi" as adjuvant therapy against COVID-19 have been approved by the DOST - Philippine Council for Health Research and Development (DOST-PCHRD).
But they are still waiting for the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to further evaluate and ensure full protection of the human subjects' rights and safety and the integrity of clinical trial data through the adoption and implementation of international standards on Good Clinical Practice.
The five-month project will be implemented by Dr. Cecilia C. Maramba from the University of the Philippines Manila following FDA's clearance.
Lagundi tablet/syrup is a proven bronchodilator used for the treatment of cough.
"Several studies have also explained its antipyretic, analgesic, anti-inflammatory as well as its anti-viral activities. Because of the aforementioned pharmacologic properties, it seems a suitable choice for the symptomatic treatment of patients infected with COVID-19," DOST-PCHRD said.