PH VCO study may soon be implemented in Sri Lanka, says DOST chief

Published December 3, 2021, 6:56 PM

by Charissa Luci-Atienza 

The country’s virgin coconut oil (VCO) clinical trial may soon be conducted in Sri Lanka, the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) said Friday, Dec. 3.


“The DOST-FNRI (Food and Nutrition Research Institute) is exploring possible conduct of the VCO study in Sri Lanka any time soon,” DOST Secretary Fortunato “Boy” T. de la Peña said during his weekly report on Friday, Dec. 3.

He said the research plan for Sri Lanka’s VCO study was tackled in a meeting held on Nov. 23.

“DOST-FNRI Director, Dr. Imelda Angeles-Agdeppa, together with Ateneo’s Dr. Fabian Dayrit and Mr. Taraka Wijebandara, discussed the research plan for the clinical trial of VCO to be conducted in Sri Lanka,” the DOST chief said.

The DOST-FNRI conducted last year a VCO trial in Santa Rosa, Laguna. Based on the VCO study in Santa Rosa, Laguna, meals mixed with VCO could reduce coronavirus disease (COVID-19) symptoms in suspect and probable cases, thus, possibly preventing the progression or severity of the disease.

In December 2020, the FNRI team reported the effectiveness of VCO on 57 probable and suspected cases at the Santa Rosa Community Quarantine Facility and in Santa Rosa Community Hospital.

Results of the FNRI study on VCO as dietary supplement among COVID-19 probable and suspect cases showed that “five of the 29 patients who were served meals with VCO manifested diminishing signs and symptoms as early as the second day, while only one patient served with the same meals but without VCO showed similar improvement.”

The VCO group of patients who were served meals with VCO showed no COVID-19 related symptoms at Day 18, while symptoms persisted in some patients of the Control Group of patients who were served the same meals without VCO until Day 23, it showed.

The DOST has invested P8.4 million to determine the safety and efficacy of VCO as adjunctive therapy for COVID-19 patients, and to evaluate its beneficial effect for probable COVID-19 patients who are quarantined in a center or hospital.

The DOST- Philippine Council for Health Research and Development (PCHRD) allocated P8.4 million to explore the use of VCO as “life-saving solution to fight COVID-19.”


Of the amount, P4.8 million was given to the project, “Virgin Coconut Oil as Adjunctive Therapy for Hospitalized COVID-19 Patients”.

The project was led by Dr. Marissa M. Alejandria of the University of the Philippines-Manila National Institutes of Health (UP-NIH). It was implemented for 12 months, from June 1, 2020 to May 31, 2021.

Results of the virgin coconut oil (VCO) trial at Philippine General Hospital (PGH) showed that hospitalized coronavirus disease (COVID-19) patients did not significantly benefit from VCO as an adjunct therapy.

The results of the VCO clinical trial at the PGH were presented by Dr. Fresthel Monica Climacosa, one of the six clinical trial investigators for VCO study during the webinar entitled, “Repurposing Natural Resources for COVID-19” initiated by the DOST-PCHRD on Nov. 25, as part of this year’s National Science and Technology Week (NSTW) celebration.