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Philippines seeks to spearhead international trials on VCO vs COVID-19
The planned undertaking is an effort to boost or expand the success of the Department of Science and Technology-Food and Nutrition Research Institute (DOST-FNRI)’s clinical trials showing that VCO is an effective functional food that can treat mild cases of COVID-19.
AFP/Nicolas Asfouri

Philippines seeks to spearhead international trials on VCO vs COVID-19

Rainier Allan Ronda (The Philippine Star) - December 11, 2020 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — The Philippines is eyeing to spearhead the international “solidarity trials” for virgin coconut oil as a potential cure for the coronavirus disease 2019, a scientist involved in the VCO study revealed yesterday.

The planned undertaking is an effort to boost or expand the success of the Department of Science and Technology-Food and Nutrition Research Institute (DOST-FNRI)’s clinical trials showing that VCO is an effective functional food that can treat mild cases of COVID-19.

Professor Fabian Dayrit of the Ateneo de Manila University (ADMU) and member of the FNRI study team that conducted the clinical trials on VCO in Santa Rosa, Laguna, said that the Philippines can tap the International Coconut Community (ICC) for the global study on VCO.

Dayrit said the team will schedule an online meeting with the ICC to discuss the conduct of a global solidarity trial similar to those being organized by the World Health Organization (WHO) on candidate COVID-19 vaccines.

“Of course there will be stronger acceptance if the study is done in many places. If it’s replicated in many places and the results are the same,” Dayrit said in a recent virtual conference held by the DOST to present the positive results of the study.

Dayrit, whose expertise is in chemistry, said the Philippines can lead this effort since it is the biggest exporter of VCO in the world. “It will certainly benefit our own VCO producers,” he added.

The ICC is an intergovernmental organization of coconut producing countries organized in 1969 under the aegis of the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (UN-ESCAP). The ICC Secretariat is located in Jakarta, Indonesia and is headed by an executive director.

Dayrit said the solidarity trial will “replicate the (DOST-FNRI) study so we can reproduce (the sample size or population).”

He noted that the clinical study involved a small population of 57 COVID-19 probable or suspected cases, more than half of which tested positive for the virus.

Dayrit said that the international solidarity trials on VCO could increase the sample or patient population to maybe 3,000 at least.

The DOST-FNRI study, which entailed the provision of healthy meals mixed with VCO to 57 suspected and probable COVID-19 cases confined at the Santa Rosa Community Hospital in Santa Rosa City, Laguna and the Santa Rosa COVD-19 Quarantine Facility, showed all the participants recovering and testing negative for COVID-19 at the end of the 28-day clinical trials.

Imelda Agdeppa, study leader and DOST Scientist II, said that of the 57 suspected and probable patient-participants, 37 had tested positive for COVID-19.

Of the 37 confirmed COVID-19 positive paticipants, she said that 19 were in the group that were given meals mixed with VCO, and 18 were in the control group, who were given meals without VCO.

“The results speak so loud, that if we give VCO, the CRP C-reactive protein, which is actually a marker for the indication of the presence of infection or inflammation, has actually significantly declined at the Day 14, of our (intervention),” Agdeppa said in a Zoom press briefing on the results of the study.

“At Day 2, you can actually observe it. It actually went down, the line, until Day 28. So that means that our VCO has really improved in terms of their conditions or presence of infection,” she said.

“As for our recommendation: VCO is actually a functional food, it is an adjunct supplement, to ease the symptoms of suspect and probable cases of COVID-19 so it won’t develop into a severe case,” Agdeppa said.

She stressed that they have to do further studies to make an outright health claim that VCO can treat COVID-19.

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