DOST: Initial data analysis results on VCO, lagundi as COVID-19 therapeutic expected by July

Published June 27, 2021, 2:37 PM

by Charissa Luci-Atienza 

The “preliminary” results of the clinical trials on the use of the Virgin Coconut Oil (VCO), and lagundi (Chinese chaste tree) as a coronavirus disease (COVID-19) therapeutic or supplement could be expected by next month, an official of the Philippine Council for Health Research and Development (PCHRD) of the Department of Science and Technology (DOST-PCHRD) said on Sunday, June 27.

Virgin coconut oil (upper photo), Tawa-tawa (lower left), Lagundi (lower right) (MANILA BULLETIN FILE PHOTOS)

DOST-PCHRD Executive Director Dr. Jaime C. Montoya said the VCO clinical trial at the Philippine General Hospital (PGH) will be completed by end of this month and the initial analysis of the data is expected to be conducted, while the project team handling the lagundi clinical trials is currently conducting their data analysis.

“Siguro by next month po ay baka mayroon tayong preliminary analysis kung ano ang sinasabi ng datos at resulta ng mga pagaaral na ito (Maybe by next month, we could have the preliminary analyses of what the data and results of these studies say),” he told the DZBB in an interview.

Montoya said early May, VCO and lagundi clinical trials are expected to be completed by June.

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DOST Secretary Fortunato “Boy” T. de la Peña disclosed during his weekly report on Friday, June 25, that the condition of patients with mild COVID-19 who were involved in the country’s lagundi clinical trials has not progressed to moderate or severe cases, and no adverse effects have been observed in the participants, citing the study’s initial data analysis.

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In July 2020, it was announced that the clinical trials for lagundi were approved by DOST-PCHRD.

Lagundi is widely used as a cough remedy.

Montoya said the tawa-tawa (Euphorbia hirta) clinical trial may be delayed as they have to wait for more volunteers to participate in the study.

“Ang tawa tawa po ay medyo hindi ganun kabilis yung pagkuha ng lalahok kasi ito po ay boluntaryo so baka ito po ay matatagalan pa ng kaunti (For tawa-tawa clinical trials, the enrolment of the participants is not that fast because it is voluntary so maybe it will take a little longer),” he said.

In late March, Dr. Philip Ian Padilla of the University of the Philippines (UP) Visayas said the tawa-tawa clinical trial is just starting.

He said the clinical trial for tawa-tawa has been slightly delayed “because of bureaucratic red tape.”

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Tawa-tawa is known as a supplement for dengue.