(Image grabbed from DOST Secretary Fortunato de la Peña's Facebook page)

MANILA – An official of the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) on Thursday said the study on the effectiveness of virgin coconut oil (VCO) as an adjunct therapy for Covid-19 showed that it has helped in the symptom’s relief and faster recovery of clinical trial participants.

"Base sa community (based clinical) trials ng DOST-Food and Nutrition Research Institute (FNRI) sa Sta. Rosa (Laguna), kung saan nilalagay nila ang VCO sa pagkain ng mga participants na mild Covid cases bilang dagdag sa standard na pangangalaga, nababawasan ang mga sintomas ng mild Covid cases at hindi nagiging severe case, at mas maaga silang gumagaling (Community-based clinical trials held by DOST-FNRI in Sta. Rosa, Laguna showed that mild Covid-19 patients who had VCO mixed in their meals had their symptoms reduced. Their condition did not become severe, and they recovered faster," DOST Undersecretary Rowena Guevara said in a televised Laging Handa public briefing.

In the FNRI's community-based clinical trials held in Sta. Rosa, Laguna from May to November 2020 and in Valenzuela City from June to December 2021, half of the participants were provided with the intervention while half belonged to the controlled group or those that did not receive VCO mixed in their meals.

DOST Secretary Fortunato de la Peña earlier said the VCO group showed no Covid-19-related symptoms on Day 18 of the clinical trials, while symptoms persisted in some patients in the controlled group until Day 23.

The VCO group has recovered from infection or inflammation approximately 14 days after being subjected to the intervention, he said.

Guevera said participants in the Valenzuela clinical trial directly drank the VCO.

"Included in the evaluation are the C-reactive protein level, hematology test, pulmonary function, viral load, lipid profile and resolution of signs and symptoms, as well as the number of days the participants are in the center (site). Results were the same as the one held in Sta. Rosa," she said.

Guevara added that this shows VCO can be mixed with meals and can be taken directly to reduce the symptoms among mild Covid-19 cases.

She also clarified that VCO can be taken by both adults and minors.

"Kasi ang VCO ay may FDA approval bilang functional food; so kahit wala kang Covid-19 ay puwede kang uminom ng VCO, mapa-bata o matanda (Because VCO was approved by the Food and Drug Administration as a functional food, it can be taken whether by kids or adults, even if they don't have Covid-19)," she said.

Meanwhile, for those interested to become VCO producers, Guevara said the FDA has requirements for them to get a license to operate.

"VCO must be in compliance with the Philippine national standards. The FDA also oversees the production line, if it is compliant with good manufacturing processes, food safety, etc.," Guevara said.

She said with this study, those who will apply as VCO producers may ask for a copy of the clinical trial results so they can indicate that the product will also be for symptomatic mild Covid-19 relief.

"If approved by the FDA, they can include in the VCO packaging that the product can be used to reduce the symptoms among mild Covid-19 positive individuals," Guevara said. (PNA)