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Monkey, banana: Curative remedy?

Scientists who infected monkeys with the novel coronavirus that causes COVID-19 have found that those that recovered developed effective immunity from the disease—a potentially important discovery in the race to develop a vaccine.

But the researchers, according to a report by the South China Morning Post, also found that the animals could become infected through their eyes, which means wearing a face mask may not be enough to protect people from the disease.

Scientists around the world have been racing to develop a vaccine, and the first clinical trials could be held in China and the US within a month, SCMP reported.

But a number of cases, where people who had tested negative for the disease and were discharged from hospital only to give a positive result a few days later, have cast doubt on the process, the report added.

Meanwhile, no evidence, neither sufficient study, could give supporting data that bananas will thwart the transmission of the novel coronavirus to a human being or prevent the latter from getting it, Health undersecretary Rosette Vergeire said wednesday.

While she downplayed a video claiming that “a banana a day keeps [the] coronavirus away” circulated on social media, Vergeire acknowledged its health benefits.

She stressed there’s nothing wrong with eating bananas, as the fruits provide the human body several nutrients.

Eating bananas, Vergeire said, is good for the body and the DOH is not preventing people from eating them.

“Only, they should not think that they will not contract the disease if they are eating bananas,” she said.

The DOH official underlined there was no concrete evidence to show that a person who eats bananas would be off the path of the novel coronavirus, which was first reported from Wuhan City in the central Hubei province of China.

Earlier, Presidential Spokesman Salvador Panelo claimed that eating bananas and gargling salt water could help prevent COVID-19 transmission.

Panelo revealed he had been eating bananas every day as he had read on the Internet that it could help fend off the respiratory virus, adding he had been gargling salt to prevent transmission.

On the use of virgin coconut oil to cure sickness caused by the new coronavirus, Vergeire said this had been discussed a month back, and had reached the Office of the President.

She said Cabinet Secretary Karlo Nograles provided assistance to local scientists and forge partnership with the University of Singapore to study the effects of Virgin Coconut Oil on COVID-19.

Dr. Fabian Dayrit, a chemistry professor at Ateneo de Manila University, said VCO, which came from coconut, had antiviral agents that could help treat COVID-19. He said there was enough proof that it might work for the new virus.

As of 11 a.m. on March 18, the DOH reported 193 confirmed positive cases of the virus, 14 deaths, and 14 who have recovered.

But Vergeire reiterated no medicines had yet been discovered to stop COVID-19 from infecting a human being, although a team of microbiologists from Canada has successfully isolated the virus, a step seen by researchers as a breakthrough to finding out the cure.

COVID-19 has been described by the World Health Organization as a global pandemic after it killed nearly 8,000 and infected 197,000 others worldwide.

“So whoever recovered, they were only provided with supportive treatment from the different facilities where they were admitted, to address their concerns,” said Vergeire.

She insisted there was no “special formula” for the recovered patients who were later discharged.

“We got the information that those who recovered started off with mild symptoms and they had no underlying conditions,” she added.

WHO said COVID-19 might be fatal for the elderly, the immuno-compromised, and those with underlying medical condition but 80 percent of cases globally showed a high chance of recovery “without needing special treatment.”

COVID-19 symptoms include fever, tiredness, and dry cough. Some patients may have aches and pains, nasal congestion, runny nose, sore throat or diarrhea. 

Topics: monkeys , novel coronavirus , COVID-19 , vaccine , banna , Department of Health , World Health Organization
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