The Department of Science and Technology (DOST) has expressed willingness to share the knowledge acquired in the clinical trials on potential adjunctive treatments for COVID-19 to drug developers.
The Philippines has conducted clinical studies to determine the efficacy of food supplement VCO and herbal medicine Lagundi as adjunct treatment against COVID-19.
“This is actually publicly-funded so it is available to developers if they think they can use this study,” said Dr. Jaime Montoya, director of DOST’s Philippine Council for Health Research and Development (PCHRD).
“Kung merong may interesado na gamitin ito (If anyone is interested in using it) especially for use in other countries, of course by all means we will make it available,” he added.
VCO community trials
In the community level trials, it was demonstrated that the VCO could be used as adjunct supplement to suspect and probable cases due to its viral and immunomodulatory properties, DOST Secretary Fortunato de la Peña said.
“The most important finding is that those that are in the group which took VCO had an earlier recovery period,” de la Peña said in a webinar on Tuesday, Oct. 26.
The study, which was in cooperation with Sta. Rosa Community Hospital in Laguna, was conducted by the DOST’s Food and Nutrition Research Institute led by Director Dr. Imelda Angeles Agdeppa.
VCO hospital trials
In the hospital trial, the DOST chief said that there is no established benefit yet for hospitalized patients as analysis of trial results is still ongoing.
He added that further study at the molecular level is needed to determine the actual effects of using VCO among hospitalized COVID-19 patients.
“While they were some favorable findings to a certain extent because of the relief from symptoms, according to our experts, the difference between the patients who took VCO and those who did not is not statistically significant,” de la Peña said.
“Although, there is some kind of advantage for those who took the VCO but the reports says it was not statistically significant,” he added.
Lagundi clinical trials
Meanwhile, the study on Lagundi was conducted to evaluate the efficacy and safety of Lagundi tablets and syrup in patients with mild COVID-19 patients without comorbidities, and if it can alleviate signs and symptoms.
The trial was divided into two stages: the Stage 1 was to determine the right amount of dosage needed for the testing, and the Stage 2 will be the large-scale testing.
“In the Stage 2, they found promising results on the effects of Lagundi in decreasing the symptoms during mild COVID disease, especially for anosmia or loss of the sense of smell, and the overall relief if discomfort due to other symptoms,” de la Peña said.
“No significant difference in adverse event grade and incidence between the interventions,” he added.