Valenzuela City eyed for VCO trials for mild COVID cases

Virgin Coconut Oil (VCO) trials as a therapeutic for coronavirus disease (COVID-19) mild cases might be conducted in Valenzuela City, according to the Department of Science and Technology (DoST).

DoST held a meeting Friday with Valenzuela Mayor Rex Gatchalian to discuss areas of collaboration between the DoST and the city in the fight against COVID-19.

This is in line with the Inter-Agency Task Force on Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID) Resolution No. 62, which designated Cabinet members to provide support to National Capital Region local government units (LGU).

In a Facebook post, DoST Secretary Fortunato dela Pena said that they have identified some initial areas of collaboration like the use of the COVID-19 Disease Model called the Feasibility Analysis of Syndromic Surveillance using Spatio-Temporal Epidemiological Modeler (FASSSTER) for forecasting on the LGU level and the possible inclusion of Valenzuela  as a site in the clinical trials for VCO as a therapeutic for COVID-19.

This technology allows policymakers to understand the pandemic on the national, regional, and local levels; assess the effects of the preventive measures in place; and use best practices in specific communities. 

The disease model FASSSTER was developed by the Ateneo de Manila University (ADMU) in cooperation with the Department of Health and UP National Institutes of Health (UP-NIH) with funding from the DoST.

The VCO trials as therapeutic for COVID-19 mild cases, on the other hand, are being implemented by the DoST-Food and Nutrition Research Institute (FNRI).

DoST-FNRI has led in the community-based study and incorporates 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.

Also present during the meeting were DoST-National Capital Region Director Jose Patalingjug III, Warren Gomez of DoST-NCR Camanava, Dr. Imelda Agdeppa of the DoST-FNRI, Faye Lagrimas of DoST-PCHRD, Lei Motilla of FASSSTER, Dr. Regina Estuar (ADMU), Dr. Marlene de Leon (ADMU), Kennedy Espina (ADMU), Mira Maramag (Department of Health), and Enrico Belga Jr. of the DoST-Office of the Secretary.