DOST to study use of virgin coconut oil as coronavirus treatment

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MANILA, Philippines – The Department of Science and Technology (DOST) is conducting clinical studies on the possible benefits of virgin coconut oil for patients with moderate to severe cases of COVID-19 and patients under investigation (PUIs).

DOST Secretary Fortunato de la Peña said in a social media post that the research will have two arms: hospital-based and community-based. The study is titled "Virgin Coconut Oil and Omega-3a Adjunctive Therapy for Hospitalized Patients with COVID-19."

Dr Marissa Alejandria will facilitate the hospital-based study at the University of the Philippines-Philippine General Hospital (UP-PGH), where virgin coconut oil will be administered to COVID-19 patients as a supplement to their daily treatment regimen.

"This arm may possibly run for a minimum of one month or until the minimum number of patients [has] been achieved," De La Peña said.

The community-based arm, meanwhile, will be facilitated by the DOST's Food and Nutrition Research Institute. Virgin coconut oil will be incorporated in the food provided to PUIs in isolation facilities and hospitals in Metro Manila and Calabarzon. The study will run for at least 4 weeks, De La Peña said.

The DOST's research is in collaboration with the UP-PGH Clinical COVID-19 Research Group, the Metro Manila Health Research and Development Consortium of the Philippine Council for Health Research and Development, and the Philippine Coconut Authority.

In January, a similar study on the potential use of coconut oil as a safe antiviral agent against the coronavirus was proposed by Dr Fabian Antonio Dayrit, professor emeritus at the Ateneo de Manila University, and Dr Mary Newport of Spring Hill Neonatology.

Dayrit and Newport said coconut oil and its derivatives have been shown to be safe and effective antiviral compounds in both humans and animals.

To date, there is still no cure for COVID-19 approved by the World Health Organization, but there are a number of treatments being tested all around the world. (READ: What you need to know: Coronavirus cures, vaccines being tested) – Rappler.com

Pauline Macaraeg

Pauline Macaraeg is part of the Rappler Research Team’s fact-checking unit. Aside from debunking dubious claims, she also enjoys crunching data and writing stories about the economy, environment, and media democracy.

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