The Department of Science and Technology has seen a positive result on a study where virgin coconut oil was used as a supplement for suspect and probable cases of COVID-19.
DOST Secretary Fortunato dela Peña said in a virtual conference that there were 58 quarantined participants from Sta. Rosa Community Hospital in Laguna who had been divided into two groups.
The group who had been given VCO mixed in standard meals for 28 days showed significant and faster improvement compared to those who were served food without VCO.
During the course of the study, they monitored the C-Reactive Protein (CRP) among the patients at Day 1, 14, and 28. The CRP is an indicator of inflammation or infection.
Cough, colds, fever, body pain, headache, loss of taste were among the symptoms that were monitored among the participants.
"The results of the VCO study showed that five of the 29 patients in the VCO group manifested diminishing signs and symptoms as early as the second day while only one from the control group showed similar improvement," Dela Peña said.
"The VCO group showed no COVID-19-related symptoms anymore at Day 18 while symptoms are still persistent in some patients of the controlled group until Day 23," he added.
Those who had been administered with VCO have recovered from inflammation 14 days into the trial.
"VCO could be used as an adjunct supplement to probable and suspect COVID-19 cases. It could prevent COVID-19 cases of becoming severe," Dela Pena said.
He, however, added that more studies are needed to determine the effectiveness of VCO as adjunct therapy for COVID-19, particularly to those who have co-morbidities.
All the participants have controlled hypertension and normal liver enzyme test results, according to the DOST chief. Those with heart ailments, asymptomatic, and pregnant were not included in the study.
Dr. Imelda Angeles-Agdeppa, Scientist II and Chief Science Research Specialist at DOST-Food and Nutrition Research Institute, said those in the VCO group were given 0.6 ml of virgin coconut oil per kilogram body weight for the first three days and 1.2 ml per kilogram body weight from the fourth day to the 28th.
This would be equivalent to two tablespoons of VCO per day for those weighing 50 kilograms.
Out of the 58 participants, 19 from the VCO group tested positive for COVID-19 while 18 from the control group were also confirmed to have the virus.
"Pag nakikita po ninyo 'yung ating dalawang grupo, talagang double blind at maganda po ang pagka-randomize po natin kasi halos equal po ang number ng nag-positive na patients," Agdeppa said.
Dr. Fabian Dayrit, professor emeritus of Ateneo de Manila University and academician from the DOST-National Academy of Science and Technology, explained that taking VCO produces monolaurin and lauric acid in the body.
"Kung mababa pa ang viral load mo, it's good protection against the virus," he said.
Dayrit said the Philippines can lead the effort on further studies about the VCO and COVID-19 in collaboration with international partners.
"If it's replicated in many places and the results are the same, talagang lalakas ang proof na talagang okay ang paggamit ng VCO laban sa COVID-19," he said.
"The Philippines can lead this effort, tutal tayo rin naman ang pinakamalaking exporter ng VCO sa mundo. So, it will certainly benefit our own VCO producers," he added.
Though the study showed that taking VCO reduces the symptoms of COVID-19 in suspect and probable cases and prevents them from progressing into severe cases, the DOST said it is only recommending the product as an "adjunct supplement" for those exhibiting symptoms.
The DOST said it has no authority to issue official guidelines on the use of VCO at home, and in the meantime, it can only share the scientific results of the study it has made through the Food and Nutrition Research Institute to guide the public.—AOL, GMA News