Opposition Senator Francis’’Kiko’’ N. Pangilinan on Tuesday welcomed the promising results of the research on the effectiveness of compounds from virgin coconut oil (VCO) as antiviral agents to prevent or reduce coronavirus disease (COVID-19) infections.
Pangilinan said this is good news that will benefit Filipinos who are infected with COVID-19 and also coconut farmers.
New research funded by the Department of Science and Technology (DOT) showed that compounds from coconut oil and VCO decreased coronavirus count by 60 to 90 percent at low viral load after six months of conducting experiments.
It was also discovered that the compounds in VCO were observed to improve cell survival.
More experiments, however, are needed to determine whether higher concentrations of these compounds will further reduce the replication rate of the virus.
“As one of the top coconut producers in the world, our country has an abundance of resources, and all we have to do now is to harness it,” Pangilinan said.
The farmer-senator said the production and processing capacity of VCO must be boosted in order to meet the demands of this potential antiviral agent.
The Senate had earlier approved on third and final reading the Coconut Farmers and Industry Trust Fund which was principally authored by Pangilinan.
The proposed measure creates a mechanism on the utilization and disposition of the coco levy funds and assets which were trapped in court disputes for many decades after the fall of the Marcos regime.
In 2018, the Philippines exported a total of 18,405.19 metric tons of VCO worth P63.92 million, the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) reported.
The World Bank also listed the Philippines as the top coconut oil producing country followed by Indonesia, India, Vietnam, and Mexico in April, 2020.
Pangilinan thanked the researchers and scientists behind the study and hoped for more research to provide more evidence and extent of its effectiveness.
“Nagpapasalamat tayo sa lahat ng researchers at siyentipiko sa likod ng pag-aaral na ito, lalo na sa DOST, sa pagsisikap na makahanap ng mga alternatibong lunas para masugpo na natin itong COVID. Umaasa tayong ipagpapatuloy ang mga pagsasaliksik para magkaroon pa ng mas malalim na pag-aaral sa bisa nitong VCO,” he said. (We are thankful to the researchers and scientists who are behind the study, particularly the DOST, for their zeal in finding alternative solutions to contain COVID-19. We are hopeful that more in-depth studies will be conducted on the efficacy of the VCO.)
As of October 19, the Philippines recorded a total of 359,169 confirmed COVID-19 cases, 42,191 active cases, and 6,675 deaths.