VCO trials on serious COVID-19 cases, patients with comorbidities pushed

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, April 16) — Since virgin coconut oil has been found to alleviate symptoms of mild and suspect COVID-19 cases, researchers should now be given the opportunity to study its effects on patients with severe coronavirus disease and those with pre-existing medical conditions, said a chemistry professor who has been studying VCO.

Dr. Fabian Dayrit, Ateneo chemistry professor and president of the Integrated Chemists of the Philippines, led the research that showed compounds from VCO decrease coronavirus count by 60-90% when there is low viral load. The Department of Science and Technology's Philippine Council for Health Research and Development, which funded this research, announced the "very promising" results in October last year, and highlighted VCO's capability to boost the body's immune response against COVID-19.

It was followed by a community-based study by the DOST's Food and Nutrition Research Institute. It showed that VCO helped reduce the severity of symptoms of patients with mild COVID-19 and those suspected of infection.

READ: VCO can ease symptoms of suspected COVID-19 patients, study finds 

"There is evidence that VCO does provide both symptomatic as well as relief from inflammatory conditions," Dayrit told CNN Philippines' News Night on Friday, recalling the results of the tests done on 57 people at a community hospital and quarantine facility in Laguna.

"This was on mild and suspect cases. We hope to bring this up to more serious COVID patients in the hospital... that needs to be done eventually," Dayrit said.

The study also did not include individuals with a history of heart ailment, those taking medications for heart diseases, those with high cholesterol levels, those who were pregnant, and those who were asymptomatic.

"There are many comorbidities so you really cannot generalize," Dayrit said. "Individually, you really have to go through it to actually recommend it for clinical use."

"I think the request now is to really push more clinical trials and to recruit more patients. Funding is needed do that. What we're asking for is really more opportunity to study VCO," the chemist and professor added.

READ: DOST recruiting volunteers for VCO study in Valenzuela City

For now, Dayrit is recommending those with mild COVID-19 symptoms to take two tablespoons of VCO thrice a day, after breakfast, lunch, and dinner. "That is the recommendation but you still need the clinical trials with more strict measurements," he said.

DOST Secretary Fortunato dela Peña also confirmed earlier that VCO can be used as adjunct supplement, which means it should be taken in combination with other COVID-19 treatments.

Cabinet Secretary Karlo Nograles has been distributing bottles of VCO to level 1 hospitals in Metro Manila, the epicenter of the local coronavirus outbreak. Nograles, who co-chairs the inter-agency task force against COVID-19, said it's a personal initiative he made "after consulting the DOST, doctors, and experts who said VCO could have possible benefits for COVID-19 patients with mild symptoms."

On Friday, the country logged a record-high 193,476 active cases, or those patients currently battling COVID-19. At least 96% of them are experiencing mild symptoms, 2.9% have no symptoms, 0.5% are in a severe state, 0.4% are in critical condition, and 0.30% have moderate infections, according to the Department of Health.