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DOST, stakeholders seek FDA approval of VCO vs COVID-19

Rainier Allan Ronda - The Philippine Star
DOST, stakeholders seek FDA approval of VCO vs COVID-19
Rowena Cristina Guevara, undersecretary for research and development, said that the DOST’s Research Group led primarily by the Philippine Council for Health Research and Development will provide technical, as well as R&D documentation assistance, to the VCO Producers and Traders Association of the Philippines Inc. for the project.
STAR / File

MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Science and Technology (DOST) will work with the country’s foremost industry association of coconut processors to get virgin coconut oil (VCO) approved for indications for mild COVID-19 cases by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

Rowena Cristina Guevara, undersecretary for research and development, said that the DOST’s Research Group led primarily by the Philippine Council for Health Research and Development will provide technical, as well as R&D documentation assistance, to the VCO Producers and Traders Association of the Philippines Inc. for the project.

“They will apply with the FDA for additional indications for VCO that it can be used for mild COVID-19,” Guevara told reporters last Thursday at the DOST’s unveiling of the 3D Monument of national hero Dr. Jose Rizal at the DOST Plaza in Taguig City.

“It will require a huge amount of paperwork so it will take time,” Guevara said.

Guevara pointed out that two finished research and clinical studies have shown that VCO was effective in hastening the recovery of COVID-19 patients, or can cure COVID-19 at “low viral load.”

One of the studies referred to by Guevara was the clinical trial on VCO as a functional food versus COVID-19 in Santa Rosa, Laguna conducted by the DOST-Food and Nutrition Research Institute which showed that VCO, when added to meals of probable and suspected COVID-19 cases, shortened their recovery period by at least five days.

The study was published last May 25 in the international Journal of Functional Foods.

The other study, conducted by the Ateneo de Manila University and Duke University-National University of Singapore led by professor Fabian Dayrit, yielded results that showed VCO was at least “helpful during the early stages of infection or at low viral load.”

VCO Philippines earlier called on the DOST and the Department of Health to support moves to get endorsements for VCO as a prophylaxis against COVID-19 and not as a cure.

Engineer Marco Reyes, president of VCO, stressed that prevention of COVID-19 infection and transmission was a better strategy in the war against the coronavirus.

“VCO should be studied further as prophylaxis against this virus. Prevention is an essential strategy,” the industry group leader earlier said. “VCO is a natural, sustainable and highly renewable resource of our country that is accessible and affordable for all Filipinos.

“We must remain open-minded, thorough and aggressive in undertaking scientific studies on the use of virgin coconut oil against this virus,” Reyes said.

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