Rainier Allan Ronda (The Philippine Star) - October 19, 2020
“HELPFUL DURING THE EARLY STAGES OF INFECTION.”DR. JAIME MONTOYA, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR OF THE DOST-PHILIPPINE COUNCIL FOR HEALTH RESEARCH AND DEVELOPMENT (PCHRD), WHICH SUPPORTED RESEARCH CONDUCTED BY THE ATENEO DE MANILA UNIVERSITY (ADMU) AND DUKE UNIVERSITY-NATIONAL UNIVERSITY OF SINGAPORE (DU-NUS), SAID THE STUDY SHOWED THAT VCO WAS AT LEAST “HELPFUL DURING THE EARLY STAGES OF INFECTION.”
MANILA, Philippines — A study funded by the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) has shown supporting evidence that bolsters the capacity of virgin coconut oil (VCO) to fight the coronavirus disease.
Dr. Jaime Montoya, executive director of the DOST-Philippine Council for Health Research and Development (PCHRD), which supported research conducted by the Ateneo de Manila University (ADMU) and Duke University-National University of Singapore (DU-NUS), said the study showed that VCO was at least “helpful during the early stages of infection.”
“It may indicate that VCO may be helpful during the early stages of the infection, when the amount of the virus is (still) low, or in asymptomatic infections, where the amount of virus is also low,” Montoya explained to The STAR.
“But we have to correlate this (to) the results of the clinical trials because what happens in the lab is not necessarily what happens in the body,” he added.
The DOST-PCHRD is also funding two other research and development (R&D) projects on VCO, one at the University of the Philippines-Philippine General Hospital on full-blown COVID-19 cases and another at the Santa Rosa Community Hospital and the Santa Rosa, Laguna COVID-19 facility.
For Science Secretary Fortunato dela Peña, the results of the ADMU-DU-NUS study raise the heartening prospect for an alternative to a COVID-19 vaccine.
“There are still alternative solutions against COVID-19 aside from vaccines. Although further investigation is needed before we develop a possible prevention or treatment option, we aim to give Filipinos hope through our ongoing local research initiatives,” Dela Peña said in a statement.
After six months of experiments in the study led by ADMU professor Fabian Dayrit, results showed that compounds from coconut oil and VCO, a readily available commodity in the Philippines, decreased coronavirus count by 60 percent to 90 percent at a low viral load.
Researchers also discovered that the compounds were observed to improve cell survival. More experiments, however, are needed to determine whether higher concentrations of these compounds will further reduce the replication rate of the virus.