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DOST to study benefits of virgin coconut oil on COVID-19 patients

The Department of Science and Technology on Wednesday announced it is looking into how virgin coconut oil could help fight the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19).

DOST Secretary Fortunato dela Peña in a press release said the department would have a two-pronged research approach: a hospital-based and a community-based.

The study titled “Virgin Coconut Oil and Omega-3a Adjunctive Therapy for Hospitalized Patients with COVID-19” would be conducted at the Philippine General Hospital and will be led by Dr. Marissa Alejandria.

“The VCO will serve as a supplement to the daily treatment regimen of the COVID-19 positive patients. The study aims to assess the possible benefits of VCO if given to patients with moderate to severe COVID-19 in addition to the drugs being assessed in the clinical trials,” Dela Peña said.

The hospital approach, which is in partnership with the UP-PGH Clinical COVID-19 Research Group and the Metro Manila Health Research and Development Consortium of the Philippine Council for Health Research and Development, would run for a minimum of one month or until the minimum number of patients have been achieved.

Meanwhile, the Food and Nutrition Research Institute would take the lead in the community-based study by incorporating virgin coconut oil in the food provided to persons under investigation.

The community-based study, which is in partnership with the Philippine Coconut Authority, would be conducted at isolation facilities in communities and hospitals in the National Capital Region and Region IV-A.

“The study aims to assess the possible benefits provided by VCO for patients with COVID-19 as well as contacts and other high-risk groups,” Dela Peña said.

“The project team is planning to conduct the same to their previous intervention studies and the dietary supplementation may possibly run for at least 4 weeks,” he added.

There is no vaccine available at the moment to treat the viral disease that has so far claimed 96 lives in the Philippines and has infected 2,311 people.

On Monday, the Philippine government said it is looking into bringing a Japanese anti-flu medication  into the country as it appears to be "very promising" for treating coronavirus disease (COVID-19) patients, according to Health Undersecretary Eric Domingo. —LDF, GMA News