Virgin coconut oil's potential as COVID solution must be studied further, says AGHAM

A pro-science consumer advocacy group wants government to seriously look into the potential of virgin coconut oil (VCO) as a weapon against the coronavirus disease (COVID-19).


Angelo Palmones, president of the Alyansa ng mga Grupong Haligi ng Agham at Teknolohiya Para sa Mamamayan (AGHAM), made this pitch even as authorities have been scrambling for ways to contain the current upsurge in new COVID-19 infections.

"For the short term, to boost our efforts in fighting COVID variants, clinical studies on virgin coconut oil must be completed as soon as possible," Palmones said.

"It will also create a big demand for VCO, globally. It will help our farmers and businesses," he pointed out.

It was October 2020 when the use of VCO as a potential "antiviral agent" against COVID-19 first grabbed local headlines. The results of a Philippine Council for Health Research and Development (PCHRD)-funded study reportedly showed that compounds from coconut oil or VCO can decrease coronavirus count by 60 to 90 percent at low viral load.

VCO is ubiquitous in the Philippines, a country with 3.5 million coconut farmers.

Developing VCO as a COVID solution would have immense economic impact as, according to the Philippine Coconut Authority (PCA), an estimated 25 million Filipinos are directly or directly dependent on coconut industry.

The accumulated number of COVID-19 infections in the Philippines recently breached the 600,000-mark, with over 12,000 deaths. The more transmissible United Kingdom (UK) and South African variant of the new coronavirus have been detected in the country in recent weeks, thus keeping the national economy partially closed.

"There’s also an urgent demand to increase the human resource of the National Genome Center to expedite identification of new variants affecting COVID patients," Palmones further said.