MANILA – An executive from the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) clarified that its sponsored study on the effectiveness of virgin coconut oil (VCO) in treating coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) patients does not signify VCO can cure someone from Covid-19.
"The study was designed to have VCO as an adjuvant, to be given on top of what is the standard of care," DOST-Philippine Council for Health Research and Development executive director Jaime Montoya told the Philippine News Agency in an interview.
Basically, he said the study would like to see if VCO can help make the patients feel better and if it could help them shorten their stay in the hospital or quarantine facility.
Another DOST-funded study on VCO, done in a laboratory abroad, showed that VCO may be very useful against the virus.
"Based on the laboratory (experiment), it can actually kill the virus such as SARS-CoV-2 that causes Covid-19. (However), this finding may not be as significant as to when you put the VCO inside the body," Montoya pointed out.
He added that the study done abroad showed that VCO is helpful in the early stages of infection, as it was found to reduce the viral load by at least 60 percent.
Meanwhile, Montoya said the Philippine General Hospital (PGH) has started screening patients that can be part of the hospital-based study on VCO.
"We need 74 patients, half of them will be given the VCO for 14 days," he said on Tuesday. All hospital-based study participants should be moderate Covid-19 patients.
Last May 1, the DOST started a community-based trial on VCO in Laguna and targeted 90 participants. Half of them would be provided with VCO in their three meals, and compare their performance with the other 45 individuals who would not be given VCO.
Every enrollee in the community-based study must undergo the regimen for 28 days. These participants are asymptomatic, as well as people they have contact with and other high-risk groups.
Montoya said that as of Tuesday, there are 57 active subjects, 49 of them have already completed the regimen while eight are still taking the intervention.
"Right now, we cannot speak yet about the percentage or number of participants who had a short stay at the center," he said. (PNA)