Considered as the Tree of Life, the coconut never stops giving. Right now, with the global health crisis, this has been proven again that the coconut could offer life-saving solution to fight COVID-19 in the form of virgin coconut oil (VCO).
The Department of Science and Technology (DOST) is investing about PHP8.4M to explore the possible use of VCO as adjunctive therapy for hospitalized COVID-19 patients. Adjunctive therapy is given to assist the primary treatment provided to the patients.
In one project amounting to PHP4.8M, 74 eligible patients from the Philippine General Hospital will participate in a study that will monitor the safety of VCO. The patients will be randomly assigned either to a standard care or treatment group. The treatment group will receive 15mL or about one tablespoon of VCO every meal, three times a day on top of standard regular care for two weeks. During this period, their lipid profile, fasting blood sugar, creatinine, and efficacy of VCO through recovery from symptoms and virus clearance of the patients will be closely monitored. This project is under the supervision of Dr. Marissa M. Alejandria of the University of the Philippines Manila.
Results from this study will prove the efficacy of VCO in helping improve the overall health status and recovery of a COVID-19 patient.
In another project with DOST’s own Food and Nutrition Research Institute (FNRI), VCO is given to suspect and probable cases of COVID-19 who are quarantined in a center or hospital so the cases will not be severe. Led by FNRI Director Dr. Imelda Angeles-Agdeppa, this PHP3.6M project aims to evaluate VCO’s beneficial effects in terms of CRP level, all hematology tests (CBC differential count), pulmonary function, viral load or CD4+, lipid profile, diminishing/resolution of signs and symptoms, and the number of days in the center.
If the results of this study prove to be successful, VCO can be used as a potential supplement of suspect and probable cases of COVID-19 to prevent the worsening of the condition of the patient.
The VCO used in the DOST-FNRI’s study was analyzed by the Laboratory Services Division of the Philippine Coconut Authority.
DOST funding on VCO studies was released through its Philippine Council for Health Research and Development.
So, what’s in the VCO that makes it a candidate as adjunctive e therapy for COVID-19? Derived from the kernel or white meat of the coconut fruit, VCO contains lauric acid and monolaurin. Past studies suggest that these chemical compounds can stop the replication of the COVID-19 virus and the binding of the proteins of the virus to the cell membrane of the host.
These chemical properties of VCO are now being used against COVID-19 through adjunctive therapy.
In a separate development, Dr. Fabian M. Dayrit of the Ateneo de Manila University has strongly advocated the use of VCO in treating COVID-19. Dr. Dayrit is also an academician of the DOST-National Academy of Science and Technology, the highest collegial body of highly recognized scientists in the Philippines, and president of the Integrated Chemists of the Philippines, a professional organization that help regulate the professional practice of chemistry in the country.
Dr. Dayrit is also involved in the DOST-FNRI study.
If proven as an effective adjunctive therapy, VCO can boost the coconut industry in the Philippines. Then, if the VCO will indeed be successful in addressing COVID-19, the market for VCO will increase because it will also become affordable and easily accessible to consumers.
The VCO as adjunctive therapy for COVID-19 is just one of the technologies to be presented during the Big 21 in 2021 Launch scheduled on 7 September 2021 at 10:00AM to be broadcast via the DOST Philippines Facebook page.///David Matthew C. Gopilan, DOST-STII, S&T Media Service
Tuklas Lunas trial on herbal anti-dengue capsule to finish soon
The Tuklas Lunas program of the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) remains in full swing as one of its projects is set for completion soon.
The clinical trial, which costs nearly PHP 12 million and is being implemented by Pharmalytics Corporation, is funded by the DOST through the Philippine Council for Health Research and Development (PCHRD).
The randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study—which is being conducted in Cavite—aims to determine the efficacy and safety of an herbal capsule when taken orally by adults with dengue fever showing no warning signs.
Each fixed-dose capsule combines the ability of tawa-tawa (Euphorbia hirta) and banaba (Lagerstroemia speciosa) to increase platelet count with the immune-boosting and anti-inflammatory properties of luya (Zingiber officinale).
Dengue is a mosquito-borne infection whose incidence has been steadily increasing in tropical countries, particularly in the Philippines where it is considered as one of the top health problems.
Once proven safe and effective, the herbal capsule will be the first definitive treatment for dengue. It could pave the way for use in cases showing warning signs and even in severe types.
On the economic side, farmers can benefit from cultivating any of the three medicinal plants, the increased demand for which may come from local pharmaceutical companies that could manufacture the treatment for domestic and even overseas markets.
Interested parties may contact Dr. Josefino Alvero, president of Pharmalytics Corporation, through email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Tuklas Lunas program trial on herbal anti-dengue capsule is one of the technologies and innovations that will be presented in the Big 21 in 2021 launch on 7 September 2021, 10:00AM, to be broadcast live at the DOST-Philippines Facebook page./// Allyster A. Endozo, DOST-STII
Photos from DOST-PCHRD
RITM to wrap up COVID-19 antibody study by year-end – DOST
The Research Institute for Tropical Medicine (RITM) of the Department of Health (DOH) is set to complete its PHP 32.88-million study on the community seroprevalence of SARS-CoV-2, the causative agent of COVID-19, by the fourth quarter of this year.
The Department of Science and Technology (DOST) funded the research through the Philippine Council for Health Research and Development (PHP 14.94 million), AHEAD-HPSR or “Advancing Health through Evidence Assisted Decision through Health Policy and Systems Research” (PHP 11.43 million), and ARCHER or “Addressing and Responding to COVID-19 through Health Research” (PHP 6.51 million).
The Epidemiology Bureau of the DOH and the World Health Organization, through its UNITY studies protocol, will serve as partners in implementing the project.
This study will provide data on the antibody profile of children and adults in selected communities nationwide beyond 21 days of symptom onset or possible exposure for asymptomatic individuals. The magnitude and timing of their antibody responses will be measured to determine the level at which individuals could be protected from COVID-19 infection.
Blood samples taken from at least 3,416 participants residing in the National Capital Region, Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao are being examined for IgM and IgG—two antibodies with viable neutralizing activity against SARS-CoV-2.
Results of the study on the disease extent, antibody testing utility, and population immunity—particularly among vaccinated individuals—will be useful in public health decisions, including prevention and control operations across the country.
Interested parties may contact Dr. Kristine Alvarado–de la Cruz, MD, FPPS, DPIDSP, the project leader at DOH-RITM, through email at email@example.com.
This project titled “Seroprevalence of SARS-CoV-2 and Determination of Viral Neutralization Characteristics of Antibodies Detected in Communities in the Philippines” is just one of the research studies to be presented during the Big 21 in 2021 Launch scheduled on 7 September 2021 at 10:00AM, to be broadcast via the DOST Philippines Facebook page. ///Allyster A. Endozo, DOST-STII, S&T Media Service