DOST: Coconut oil clinical trials for COVID-19 patients get committee nod

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, April 24) — Clinical trials which shall test whether the consumption of virgin coconut oil by coronavirus patients leads to faster recovery have been approved by the ethics committee, said the Department of Science and Technology.

The approval was granted yesterday, said DOST Secretary Fortunato de la Peña in the Laging Handa virtual press briefing on Friday.

"Sa bawat clinical trial, kailangan merong approval ang ethics committee, so handa na po na ito ay i-implement," he said.

[Translation: Every clinical trial needs approval from the ethics committee, so it (virgin coconut oil clinical trial) is now ready for implementation.]

De la Peña said trials will be conducted on a group of patients from the Philippine General Hospital and Santa Rosa Community Hospital in Laguna.

He added that consent from the patients is still needed, despite virgin coconut oil having no known harmful effects.

"Malaking bagay po kung maipapakita na nakakabilis ng recovery ito dahil abundant po siya dito sa atin at affordable naman siya at yun nga po, pwede siyang bigyan ng approval bilang health supplement ng FDA," said the DOST Secretary.

[Translation: It will be significant if (the clinical trials) are able to show it (virgin coconut oil) can speed up recovery because it is abundant in the country, affordable, and can be granted approval by the FDA (Food and Drug Administration) as a health supplement.]

Should the initial trials show pleasant results, de la Peña said further clinical trials may be conducted to test virgin coconut oil as possible medicine for the coronavirus.

Lauric acid and other derivatives of coconut oil are also being tested, added de la Peña.

The DOST announced earlier this month it will begin looking into the possible benefits of 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 using virgin coconut oil on treating patients, saying it "is affordable and virtually risk-free, and the potential benefits are enormous."

Over 2.7 million people have been infected by COVID-19 worldwide. Meanwhile, the Philippines has nearly 7,200 confirmed cases of the disease.