Virgin Coconut Oil (VCO) has long been considered as nature’s miracle medicine for its numerous benefits and healing properties.
Now, VCO is once again in the spotlight as it can be utilized to avoid “further transmission of the virus” and as a “viable and affordable treatment” against the dreaded coronavirus disease (COVID-19).
These were revealed by Department of Science and Technology (DOST) Secretary Fortunato de la Peña during the virtual “Talakayang HeaRTBeat” on Monday, May 17, as he presented the results of the studies conducted on VCO against COVID-19.
The “Talakayang HeaRT (Health Research and Technology) Beat” showcased several health research projects and innovations that have already provided significant inputs and contributions in the field of diagnostics, public health surveillance, and treatment for COVID-19.
It was organized by the DOST- Philippine Council for Health Research and Development (DOST-PCHRD).
During the event, de la Peña explained that DOST explored the antiviral properties of VCO – which is a readily available commodity in the Philippines – against COVID-19.
“Based on available literature, compounds in coconut oil have shown to be safe and effective at killing viruses,” de la Peña. DOST, he added, also supported two research studies for VCO.
One is the in-vivo project led by Dr. Fabian Dayrit and his team from the Ateneo De Manila University.
“They aimed to determine through in-vitro experiments, whether lauric acid and its derivatives, can prevent or diminish the infectivity of SARS-CoV-2,” de la Peña explained.
De la Peña noted that for the results of in-vitro experiments led by Dayrit, the study has seen “favorable results “ where it was concluded that there is evidence to support that VCO indeed has antiviral properties against mild COVID-19 cases.
“These results are consistent with the previous literature in terms of VCO’s capability to destroy the virus, but not on its capability to prevent viral replication,” de la Peña said. “This work will provide the global health community insights on VCO as viable and affordable treatment against COVID-19,” he added.
De la Peña said that the second project conducted clinical trials in Santa Rosa Community Quarantine Facility and at the Santa Rosa Community Hospital in Santa Rosa City, Laguna.
Led by Dr. Imelda Angeles-Agdeppa from the DOST-Food and Nutrition Research Institute, the project aimed to “evaluate the effects of VCO when given to suspect and probable cases of COVID-19” in a quarantine facility.
De la Peña noted that “favorable results” were also shown by the study of Agdeppa where it was concluded that VCO – when mixed with meals – “could reduce COVID-19 symptoms, thus, possibly preventing the progression or severity of the disease.”
Additionally, de la Peña said that immediate effects of the VCO intervention were observed among five of the 29 patients in the VCO Group who experienced decreasing signs and symptoms of COVID-19 as early as Day 2.
“The VCO group experienced no more symptoms at Day 18, while the Control Group exhibited no symptoms only at Day 23,” he added.
De la Peña noted that ultimately, “we aim to benefit COVID-19 patients, as VCO may be incorporated in the treatment regimen developed for COVID-19 patients” through these projects.
“VCO may also be utilized to avoid further transmission of the virus,” de la Peña said. “More so, the project may also benefit coconut farmers, as the utilization of VCO may help boost the coconut industry,” he ended.