The Department of Science and Technology (DOST) said Friday, Nov. 26, that initial results of the clinical study on tawa-tawa (Euphorbia hirta) as adjunctive treatment for coronavirus disease showed that tawa-tawa capsules are safe for patients who are experiencing mild COVID-19 symptoms.
DOST Secretary Fortunato “Boy” T. de la Peña presented the interim findings of the randomized controlled clinical trial on the efficacy and safety of tawa-tawa extract as an adjunctive COVID-19 treatment during the Talakayang HeaRT Beat on the agency’s Big 21 Tuklas Lunas Projects initiated by the DOST-Philippine Council for Health Research and Development (PCHRD) on Friday.
“The results are currently undergoing further evaluation and validation, but interim findings did show that Tawa-tawa capsules are safe for patients experiencing mild COVID-19 symptoms,” he said.
Led by by Dr. Philip Ian Padilla of the University of the Philippines (UP) Visayas, the yearlong study aims to determine the efficacy of standardized tawa-tawa spray-dried extract (SDE) as an adjunctive treatment for mild to moderate cases of COVID-19 based on the optimal dose of SDE, and Its efficacy in alleviating clinical symptoms of COVID-19.
Padilla’s team likewise looked into SDE’s effect on different hematological and biochemical parameters of patients with COVID-19 and its ability to prevent the progression of mild symptoms to severe symptoms.
De la Peña said initial results showed that following the intake of tawa-tawa capsules as a food supplement, the condition of mild COVID-19 patients has improved.
“COVID-19 patients who were given two capsules of tawa-tawa three times a day as a food supplement reported alleviation of their symptoms between three to five days from Day 1 of administration,” he said.
“For the efficacy of the tawa-tawa capsules as an adjunctive treatment for mild COVID-19 patients, participants in all treatment groups, including the Control group, experienced clinical improvement, and none developed worsening of symptoms,” he added.
He noted that only four participants experienced adverse effects.
“None of the participants developed post-treatment infection,” de la Peña said.
A total of 172 participants were involved in the randomized controlled clinical trial on the efficacy and safety of tawa-tawa extract as an adjunctive COVID-19 treatment.
Padilla said there was no related infection after the treatment with tawa-tawa in all the treatment arms.
“They were not infected, re-infected by COVID or another infection, so overall, no records of post-treatment infection for all the treatment and controlled group of the tawa-tawa clinical trial,” he said.
In May, the University of the Philippines Visayas and Corazon Locsin Memorial Hospital signed a memorandum of agreement (MOA) for the project.
Tawa-tawa is known as a supplement for dengue.