THE Department of Science and Technology (DOST) announced on Thursday, December 3, 2020, that their community-based research in Laguna has shown that virgin coconut oil (VCO), when given as a supplement to Covid-19 patients with mild symptoms, prevents progression of the disease.
Scientist Fabian Dayrit, who led the research, described VCO as “a good protection” against coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19).
Further research is needed to determine whether VCO, which is known for its anti-viral properties, can cure the infectious disease.
“All of the indications suggest that VCO will certainly at least decrease the symptoms of inflammation. 'Yung cure n'ya against (Whether it will cure) Covid will require further studies,” he said.
“In a way, it’s prophylaxis. It’s good protection. Protection against the virus. But we have not yet studied it on high viral load,” he added.
DOST Secretary Fortunato dela Peña, who announced the results of the study, said they have yet to determine the efficacy of VCO as adjunct therapy in patients with comorbidities.
He said the clinical trials involved 57 probable and suspected Covid-19 patients confined at the Sta. Rosa Community Hospital in Laguna.
All patients were experiencing cough, colds, fever, body pain, headache and loss of taste at the time of the clinical trials.
Of the 57, 29 were given VCO as a meal supplement for 28 days. The rest, 28, were not given VCO.
Five of the 29 patients in the VCO group and one patient from the control group showed improvement on the second day.
By the 18th day, all 29 patients in the VCO group no longer showed any Covid-19 symptoms.
On the other hand, Covid-19 symptoms persisted in some of those in the control group until Day 23, Dela Peña said.
The research team also monitored the patients’ C-reactive protein (CRP) level, which increases in case of inflammation in the body.
Dela Peña said all 29 patients in the VCO group showed no inflammation after 14 days.
"VCO could be used as an adjunct supplement to probable and suspect COVID-19 cases. It could prevent Covid-19 cases of becoming severe," Dela Peña said.
Imelda Angeles-Agdeppa, head of the Nutritional Assessment and Monitoring Division of the Food and Nutrition Research Institute, said these findings are significant.
The DOST is also conducting hospital-based research on the use of VCO as a supplement for Covid-19 patients in the University of the Philippines Philippine General Hospital. The results of this second study have yet to be released. (Third Anne Peralta-Malonzo / SunStar Philippines)