What you need to know about PGH’s VCO clinical trial

Published June 5, 2021, 11:36 PM

by Charissa Luci-Atienza 

The Department of Science and Technology (DOST) reported Saturday, June 5, that 64 patients have been enrolled in the clinical trial aimed at looking into the effectiveness of virgin coconut oil (VCO) as an adjunct therapy for hospitalized coronavirus disease (COVID-19) patients.

(Manila Bulletin File photo)

This was contained in the report of Philippine Council for Health Research and Development (PCHRD) given to DOST Secretary Fortunato “Boy” T. de la Peña on Saturday.

DOST-PCHRD Executive Director Dr. Jaime C. Montoya relayed to the DOST chief that they will likely reach their target of completing the VCO study within this month, as the team of Dr. Marissa M. Alejandria of the University of the Philippines-Manila National Institutes of Health (UP-NIH) will be needing only 13 participants.

Alejandria, who serves as project leader of the PGH VCO trial for moderate and severe COVID-19 patients who are confined, informed the PCHRD that “as of today, there are 64 patients enrolled with a target of 77 patients in the VCO trial in PGH.”

With this development, Montoya apprised de la Peña that their target to complete the clinical trial by the end of month is “reachable”.

The PGH’s 12 month-long VCO study is one of the country’s ongoing studies on VCO eyed to be completed by June this year.

The project, which employed a randomised controlled trial design, is supposed to be implemented from June 1, 2020 to May 31, 2021.

De la Peña had noted that Alejandria’s team is “planning to conduct an interim analysis of their ongoing study to serve as a basis for further studies on the mechanism of action of VCO.”

Since 2020, the Philippines has been looking into the effectiveness of VCO as an adjunct therapy for hospitalized COVID patients and a potential supplement to help prevent symptoms from becoming severe for probable and suspect COVID-19 cases.

De la Peña said the second project seeks to evaluate the beneficial effect of VCO given to suspect and probable cases of COVID-19 who are quarantined in a center or hospital.

DOST-Food and Nutrition Research Institute (DOST-FNRI) Director Dr. Imelda Angeles Agdeppa is the lead person on the “randomized double-blind controlled intervention trial” on VCO.

The project is implemented on May 1, 2020 to June 31, 2021.