THE Department of Science and Technology (DOST) is funding research on the use of virgin coconut oil as supplemental therapy for coronavirus disease (Covid-19) patients, Malacañang said Monday, April 27.

In a virtual press briefing, Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said there are two clinical studies involving virgin coconut oil.

The first is being undertaken by the Philippine General Hospital, which is looking into the potential of virgin coconut oil as supplemental therapy to be given on top of the traditional medicines prescribed by doctors to treat symptoms of the respiratory disease.

The second, which will be implemented by the DOST-Food and Nutrition Research Institute, will evaluate the effects of virgin coconut oil in diminishing the symptoms of Covid-19, such as better breathing and lesser frequency of coughing.

“Meron na pong dalawang pag-aaral ang pinondohan ng DOST. Eto po ay para doon sa mga tinatawag na clinical studies. Ang una pong pag-aaral ay ipinatutupad po ng Philippine General Hospital o PGH at tinitingnan po nito ang potensyal ng virgin coconut oil as a supplemental therapy dun po sa standard medicines na binibigay sa mga pasyente ng Covid-19,” Roque said.

The DOST first announced on April 24 that it was going to start clinical trials of virgin coconut oil on April 24.

The trials involve Covid-19 patients from PGH and the Santa Rosa Community Hospital in Laguna.

Aside from these two research projects, there is a study by a Singapore university and Dr. Fabian Dayrit of Ateneo de Manila University to determine whether virgin coconut oil and its derivatives could lessen a person’s chances of contracting the novel coronavirus, or Sars-CoV-2, the highly infectious agent that causes Covid-19.

“Bukod po rito, mayroon pong pag-aaral na ginagawa sa isang unibersidad sa Singapore, sa pakikipag tulungan ni Dr. Fabian Dayrit ng Ateneo,” Roque said.

“Itong pag-aaral pong ito ay para malaman kung ang virgin coconut oil at ang kanyang derivatives ay puwedeng dahilan para mabawasan ang pagkakahawa ng virus na siyang nagiging dahilan ng Covid-19,” he added.

Other studies that are being conducted involve the herbal drugs lagundi and tawa-tawa.

Roque said scientists are evaluating the efficacy and safety of these traditional medicines as supplement against Covid-19.

The Philippines is also participating in the Solidarity Trial of the World Health Organization (WHO).

The Department of Health (DOH) on Sunday said 21 hospitals across the country are participating in the trial as of April 20.

The WHO Solidarity Trial is an international clinical trial to evaluate the effectiveness of four Covid-19 treatment options.

The treatment options are:

Remdesivir, an anti-ebola drug that was also considered for treatment of Hers and Sars, which are also caused by coronaviruses;

Lopinavir/Ritonavir, a licensed treatment for the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV);

Lopinavir/Ritonavir with Interferon beta-1a, which is used to treat multiple sclerosis; and

Chloroquine or hydroxychloroquine, which are used to treat malaria and rheumatology.

“Ito po ay bunsod sa kagustuhan ng Presidente na makipag tulungan tayo sa lahat ng mga dalubhasa sa buong mundo upang magkaroon na po tayo ng vaccine,” Roque said. (SunStar Philippines)