A Philippine study found that virgin coconut oil may help COVID-19 patients in the early stages of infection or when the load of the virus remains low.
The study conducted by Ateneo de Manila University and Duke University-National University of Singapore with funding from the Department of Science and Technology bolstered evidence that VCO may be used to potentially fight COVID-19 at least in the early stages or at low viral count.
The Department of Science and Technology said in an earlier statement that results of six-month experiments conducted by researchers from Ateneo de Manila University showed evidence that VCO may be a means to defeat COVID-19.
After six months of experiments, results showed that compounds from coconut oil and VCO decreased coronavirus count by 60 percent to 90 percent at low viral load.
"The results are very promising, as not only does it show that the VCO, by itself, can destroy the virus, but it also has a key mechanism in up-regulating the immune response against COVID-19. Indeed, we look forward to the results of clinical trials on the various uses of VCO as an adjunct for the treatment of COVID-19," said Dr. Jaime Montoya, executive director of the DOST-Philippine Council for Health Research and Development which supported the ADMU-Duke University-NUS research on VCO.
Montoya said, however, the results of the study should be correlated with the results of ongoing clinical trials.
The VCO compounds were observed to improve cell survival, according to the researchers. More experiments, however, are needed to determine whether higher concentrations of these compounds will further reduce the replication rate of the virus.
“There are still alternative solutions against COVID-19 aside from vaccines. Although further investigation is needed before we develop a possible prevention or treatment option, we aim to give Filipinos hope through our ongoing local research initiatives,” said Department of Science and Technology Secretary Fortunato de la Peña.
The research led by Dr. Fabian Dayrit of Ateneo De Manila University sought to investigate if coconut oil compounds are effective antiviral agents to prevent or reduce COVID-19 infection, following reports of previous research that VCO compounds are effective at killing other viruses.
With the lack of available vaccine for COVID-19, the DOST seeks to intensify the thrust for alternative solutions to the increasing cases of COVID-19 by all means supporting Filipino research and innovations.
The DOST, together with the Food and Nutrition Research Institute and the University of the Philippines-Manila, is exploring the capability of VCO to up-regulate the immune system. Results from these ongoing VCO Clinical trials will determine whether VCO can be used as adjunct therapy for COVID-19 patients.
The DOST-PCHRD is funding two other research and development projects on VCO at the University of the Philippines-Philippine General Hospital on full-blown COVID-19 cases; and in the Santa Rosa Community Hospital and the Santa Rosa, Laguna COVID-19 facility.
Aside from facilitating the eventual conduct of the WHO vaccine clinical trials in the Philippines, the DOST-PCHRD is also supporting projects under its initiatives on repurposing of existing drugs, supplements and other formulations and clinical trials of candidate drugs to find viable treatment options against COVID-19.