Sammy Malawan, director of the Department of Science and Technology-Region 12 .(PNA GenSan photo)

GENERAL SANTOS CITY – The Department of Science and Technology (DOST) in Region 12 is pushing for the production of more quality organic virgin coconut oil (VCO) in the wake of its potential as an antiviral agent against the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19).

DOST-Regional Director 12 Sammy Malawan said Friday they have been engaging with community-based VCO producers in Sarangani and North Cotabato to help improve the quality of their products.

Malawan said the move seeks to increase the availability of VCO products in the local markets and expand the studies on its promising benefits to fight Covid-19.

“The initial clinical trials and scientific research provided a lot of promise for VCO in terms of reducing the viral load of Covid-19. It could be very beneficial to us while waiting for the release of the vaccine,” he said at the sidelines of the ongoing two-day National Science and Technology Week celebration here.

Meanwhile, Malawan said DOST is also pushing for the expansion of ongoing studies regarding the use of the product as an antiviral agent against the disease.

He was referring to the community-based clinical trials on VCO as an adjunct treatment for Covid-19 that are being conducted in Laguna and Manila.

To ensure the production of top quality VCO, Malawan said they have launched in-house technology training on food safety prerequisite programs, specifically on Good Manufacturing Practices and Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point, to local producers.

Malawan said DOST has also assisted various cooperatives in complying with certification requirements with the Food and Drug Administration.

“This promising discovery is a good opportunity to advance our VCO products,” he said. (PNA)