Virgin coconut oil trials for PGH COVID-19 patients approved

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, June 3) — Virgin coconut oil (VCO) trials may now be conducted on coronavirus patients of the Philippine General Hospital (PGH), the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) announced on Wednesday.

"Ang good news, yun pong sa PGH, which is for moderate and severe cases, ay inaprubahan na finally ng ethics board ng UP Manila," DOST Secretary Fortunato dela Peña told the regular Laging Handa virtual briefing. "So I am just waiting for the report that they have already started."

[Translation: The good news is that the (VCO trials) in PGH, which is for moderate and severe (COVID-19) cases, have finally been approved by the ethics board of the UP (University of the Philippines) Manila.]

Fortunato explained that the patients will be given VCO for 14 days to test whether the substance has a good effect on them.

"As I have indicated earlier, they are planning for 100 patients," he added. "Half will be on VCO, and half will not be given the VCO for comparison purposes."

The DOST chief also noted that while VCO trials in the Santa Rosa Community Hospital in Laguna had started almost a month ago, they are unable to meet the recommended number of 90 patients enrolled in the trial as the arrival of patients there is slow.

"What we did was to include the two other, shall we say hospitals or centers who have patients and, fortunately, Medical City has set up just two weeks ago a facility in Santa Rosa and they agreed that they will participate," said dela Peña. The quarantine center of Santa Rosa shall also provide additional patients for the trial, he added.

The DOST announced in early April it will begin looking into the possible benefits of virgin coconut oil on COVID-19 patients.

In February, Ateneo de Manila University Professor Emeritus Fabian Antonio Dayrit and Dr. Mary Newport of Spring Hill Neonatolody in Florida, USA proposed a clinical study on the use of coconut oil to treat patients, saying it "is affordable and virtually risk-free, and the potential benefits are enormous."

To date, the Philippines has almost 19,000 confirmed cases of coronavirus. Over 6.3 million have caught the disease worldwide.