On Friday, April 24, the Philippines Department of Science and Technology (DOST) said it has received permission from the ethics committee to start clinical trials on testing Virgin Coconut Oil as a health supplement for the coronavirus patients. The study cites that the oil has anti-viral properties which can possibly help as an anti-coronavirus agent.
Fortunato Dela Peña, the Science Secretary, said that the objective of the study would be to prove that patients who take VCO will recover faster from the coronavirus. Coronavirus patients from the Philippines General Hospital in Manila and the Santa Rosa Community Hospital in Laguna will be involved in the study. The oil would be administered in the daily diet of patients who are willing to take part in the study.
The infectious coronavirus, said to have originated in China, does not have a vaccine or a defined treatment as of now. But, several countries from across the world are trying to find a vaccine with a few of them entering the human trial stage.
On its part, the World Health organisation has set up a global "solidarity trial" to find a vaccine and combat the coronavirus crisis.
Consent from patients
At a press briefing on Friday, the secretary said the trial there needs to be approved by patients. The Secretary also said that there is no known side effect to the virgin coconut oil.
"It will be significant if the clinical trials are able to show that virgin coconut oil can speed up recovery because it is abundant in the country, affordable, and can be granted approval by the Food and Drug Administration as a health supplement," he said.
Fortunato de la Peña has explained that the test would have two arms -- hospital-based and community-based. The study would be named "Virgin Coconut Oil and Omega-3a Adjunctive Therapy for Hospitalized Patients with COVID-19." If the tests yield positive results, then the oil would even be taken up as a possible medicine for the coronavirus, he said.
According to CNN Philippines, Ateneo de Manila University Professor Emeritus Fabian Antonio Dayrit and Dr Mary Newport of Spring Hill Neonatology in Florida, US had suggested VCO as a possible treatment for the coronavirus patients and emphasized on a clinical study of the same.
There has been no suggestion from the rest of the research community on the study of VCO on coronavirus patients. The Philippines President, Rodrigo Duterte, said that any Filipino who can develop a coronavirus vaccine will be rewarded with a 50 million PHP.