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PCA allots P5 million to study VCO’s anti-COVID property

Louise Maureen Simeon (The Philippine Star) - May 2, 2020 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Agriculture has earmarked an initial P5 million to study the curative properties of virgin coconut oil on patients with the coronavirus disease 2019 or COVID-19.

The Philippine Coconut Authority (PCA) has partnered with other agencies to study VCO after previous researches have shown that it has high potency anti-viral, anti-bacterial, and anti-fungal qualities.

“The success of this will not only help our COVID-19 patients, but also benefit our marginal coconut farmers,” Agriculture Secretary William Dar said.

PCA administrator Benjamin Madrigal Jr. said initial research results show that the lauric acid in VCO helps fight the coronavirus in three ways, as it disintegrates the virus membrane, inhibits virus maturation, and prevents binding of viral proteins to the host cell membrane.

The ongoing study is being conducted by the DA-PCA in partnership with the Department of Science and Technology’s Food and Nutrition Research Institute, Philippine Center for Health Research and Development, Department of Health, University of the Philippines-Philippine General Hospital, and the team of Professor Fabian Antonio Dayrit of Ateneo de Manila University.

The two-pronged study involves a community-based modified clinical study on the use of VCO, involving persons under investigation for COVID-19 infection who exhibit symptoms of the disease.

The tests are being conducted by the FNRI with DOST-Calabarzon, Santa Rosa City government in Laguna, and Medical City South Luzon.

Second, VCO is used as a supplement to the daily treatment regimen, in addition to the pharmaceutical drugs being assessed in clinical trials of positive patients at PGH.

The PCA will also support all the clinical laboratory tests in the community-based studies to determine the anti-viral and immune system boosting qualities of VCO.

“With this favorable development, the demand for VCO has started to pick up with the on-going confirmatory clinical research at PGH and at the community quarantine facility in Sta. Rosa in Laguna,” he said.

Dar has urged the PCA to institute innovative strategies to further increase the production of quality VCO nationwide, and provide coconut farmers a stable market and steady income.

The United States Department of Agriculture-Foreign Agricultural Service said earlier that export of coconut oil, the country’s top agricultural export, is expected to decline this year due to an oversupply of global vegetable oils coupled with the decline in local copra production.

Coconut oil exports are seen to decline by 23 percent to 810,000 metric tons.

DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE PHILIPPINE COCONUT AUTHORITY
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