Substitutes sought for COVID vaccine

POSTSCRIPT - Federico D. Pascual Jr. (The Philippine Star) - December 3, 2020 - 12:00am

While waiting for an affordable vaccine, many Filipinos are trying alternative defenses, including virgin coconut oil and steam inhalation, against the COVID-19 pandemic that has infected more than 64,150,000 people and killed 1,490,000 worldwide.

Adding to the anxiety, the British pharma firm AstraZeneca that was contracted to supply an initial 2.6 million doses of vaccine has run into trust issues after questions were raised about its Phase-3 trial results.

AstraZeneca had to explain why one of its trials that erroneously used a half dose on younger participants followed by a full dose after four weeks scored 90-percent effectiveness while its other regular trial using full doses for both injections reported only 62 percent. It said that the average 70-percent efficacy of the two trials was more than good enough.

Priced at P1,200/dose, its vaccine is cheaper than other brands and has the advantage of not requiring subzero-degree storage like the vaccines of Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna, whose handling requirements are more challenging for countries like the Philippines.

Updates are still being awaited, meanwhile, from the drug developers of China and Russia that hogged the news early on when President Duterte talked positively about their being available by December. Were they offering to hold Phase-3 trials here, and not mass inoculation?

With the limited supply from AstraZeneca, it appears that aside from vaccinating the 1.3 million priority beneficiaries, there is nothing clear yet about the early inoculation of the balance 60 million exposed Filipinos.

We sense anxiety over the non-availability of government-subsidized vaccines in the requests that we’ve been receiving for copies of the video mentioned here Tuesday showing the Chinese using home remedies to prevent their contracting COVID-19.

Without meaning to endorse the Chinese routine that includes the frequent drinking of warm water, hot milk and tea, and steam inhalation – which reportedly neutralizes the coronavirus – we have been sharing the video via Viber with readers who ask for it.

Excerpts from its audio: “The Chinese drink hot water six times a day. They also drink hot milk and tea four times a day. They inhale steam as many times a day as possible. When done for four days, the coronavirus within dies, and you are cured on the fifth day.

“While the world is searching for a vaccine for COVID-19, this is how China has successfully controlled this virus. In big countries like the US, Spain and Italy, so many have died because they overthought and tried to control the virus only through medication.

“You too can take the medications that doctors prescribe, but at the same time drink plenty of hot water and inhale steam as much as possible. Medicine cannot totally kill this virus. The heat can.”

We have heard of similar steam inhalation among some Filipinos to treat the symptoms of ailments affecting the respiratory system. We have not tried it ourselves.

We suggest to the Department of Health, the Food and Drug Administration and scientific bodies, to press research on the home treatment of common maladies afflicting the masses who have to contend with the high cost of medical care and medicines.

It might sound funny but a growing number of Filipinos have been going to Google on the internet to seek quality professional opinion to aid them in self-diagnosis and treatment, sometimes with salutary effects.

Imagine a large number of Filipinos preferring to consult Google instead of physicians and, especially with the COVID-19 scare, avoiding going to hospitals and doctor’s clinics which many people describe as crawling with germs aside from being too expensive.

Here’s mention of virgin coconut oil

Still on home cure, reader Manuel Q. Quimpo Jr. of Quezon City tells us of the uses of virgin coconut oil, another popular remedy for a host of health (and beauty) concerns.

This is not an endorsement. We’re just sharing his experience in this time of COVID-19 and the prohibitive cost of medical care and medicines. The government should act seriously on these public health problems.

At the risk of being accused of peddling unproven cures without scientific validation or approval by the Food and Drug Administration, we run his email (edited to fit) as a sample of how people look for inexpensive yet effective home remedy:

“You must know VCO – virgin coconut oil. It can save Filipinos from COVID-19 infections, and death.

“I’m a regular VCO user, a 67-year-old retired engineer who has been using VCO since 2006. During my son’s battle against stage-4 cancer, T-cell Non-Hodgkins Lymphoma, I protected his lungs with 12 tbsp daily of VCO midway during his chemo days and post-treatment at the Philippine General Hospital.

“After five years, until now, he has been cleared (as shown in his yearly CT scan). He has a healthy seven-month-old daughter now. Surprised to be fertile after the chemo and radiation treatment. He married last May 2019.

“At three months, I put 2-3 drops of VCO directly to my apo’s infected right eye (every hour for three hours) to cure her pagmumuta. Infection cleared after three hours.

“Same with her face blisters, which were cleared after five days of continuous application. I now regularly apply VCO to her skin for insect bites, scratches, etc., avoiding synthetic doctor-prescribed medicines, especially steroids.

“For my COVID-19 protection when going out, I take 1 tbsp VCO, gargle then swallow, sniff 2-3 drops per nostril before going daily (3-4 times) to the market, grocery store, supermarts, S&R, etc.

“I take 3-4 tbsp 3x daily to cure any trankaso (flu) or hard-cough phlegm problems. These are usually cured in five days. I don’t take antibiotics or other medicines, except Fern C Vitamin C.

“I give VCO, a ‘pharmacy in a bottle,’ to friends and to poor and needy people complaining of various ailments. I’m happy to get feedback that they get cured.”

*      *      *

Nota Bene: All Postscripts are archived at  manilamail.com. Author is on Twitter as @FDPascual. Email: fdp333@yahoo.com

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