DOST expands trials on use of coco oil for COVID symptoms
MANILA, Philippines — Trials for the use of virgin coconut oil (VCO) as treatment for COVID-19 may now include coronavirus patients with certain comorbidities or simultaneous medical conditions.
The Department of Science and Technology (DOST) earlier completed a VCO trial in Sta. Rosa, Laguna, where it found that taking VCO as a food supplement can reduce symptoms among probable COVID-19 cases.
This initial Sta. Rosa trial involved 57 patients, 29 of whom were given meals mixed with VCO.
Science and Technology Secretary Fortunato dela Peña said only patients with comorbidities that have less risk of reacting adversely to VCO would be allowed to join the next trials.
Dela Peña said the Philippine General Hospital (PGH) would determine which patients to include. The government-run hospital has been considering the participation of those with high cholesterol levels, since similar patients had been included in the Sta. Rosa trial, he added.
“They will probably include … comorbidities that are not risk[y] so that the number of volunteers will increase,” the DOST chief said at the Laging Handa briefing on Friday.
In previous months, the number of severe and moderate COVID-19 cases admitted to hospitals has gone down, Dela Peña said. This resulted in a slowdown in the recruitment of trial volunteers.
Reacting to a recent Pulse Asia survey which found that nearly half of Filipinos were unwilling to be vaccinated against the coronavirus, Dela Peña said the public should trust the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
“The FDA would probably not give the go-signal if there is evidence that (an approved vaccine) was not appropriate. Let us trust that the FDA knows the basis to give a bidder emergency use authority (EUA), or permission to market,” he said.
Dela Peña also made this reassurance amid doubts about the safety or efficacy of the COVID-19 vaccines manufactured in China, which the Philippines may procure.
The DOST has yet to receive any data from the Chinese vaccine maker Sinopharm but it has signed a confidentiality disclosure agreement with the pharmaceutical giant.
While the Sinopharm vaccine has not been authorized for use in the Philippines, President Duterte recently made a controversial disclosure that many Filipinos—including his military bodyguards—had been inoculated with it.
A task group led by the Presidential Communications Operations Office and the Department of Health would be assigned to encourage demand for vaccination, Dela Peña said.
Meanwhile, Science and Technology Undersecretary Rowena Guevarra said Russia’s Gamaleya Institute was expected to submit this weekend its application for EUA for its COVID-19 vaccine.
There are currently two vaccine developers that have applied for EUA before the FDA—Pfizer-BioNTech (United States and Germany) and AstraZeneca-Oxford University (United Kingdom). These companies have existing EUAs with other countries.
Highest since Christmas
The Department of Health (DOH) on Friday said it had recorded 1,776 new infections of COVID-19, bringing the total case count in the country to 483,852.
Friday’s new cases marked the highest single day increase since Christmas Day, when 1,885 new infections were recorded.
Based on DOH data, there are some 25,158 active cases, or 5.2 percent of the nationwide tally.
There were 285 new recoveries, bringing total recovered patients to 449,330,
Eight more died of the disease, bringing the total death count to 9,364.
One case previously listed as recovered was also reclassified as a death, the DOH said. —WITH REPORTS FROM PATRICIA DENISE M. CHIU AND DEXTER CABALZA
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