A STUDY to validate claims that virgin coconut oil (VCO) could be useful in treating coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) patients has received P5 million worth of funding, the Department of Agriculture (DA) said.

The DA, through the Philippine Coconut Authority (PCA), said it enlisted various agencies to study claims of VCO’s anti-viral and anti-bacterial properties.

“The success of this will not only help our COVID-19 patients, but also benefit our marginal coconut farmers,” Agriculture Secretary William D. Dar said.

PCA administrator Benjamin R. Madrigal Jr. said initial VCO research has shown that the lauric acid in VCO helps fight COVID-19 by disintegrating the virus membrane, inhibiting the maturation of the virus, and preventing the binding of viral proteins to the host cell membrane.

The study includes first, a community-based modified clinical study on the use of VCO, involving persons under investigation for COVID-19 infection, who exhibit symptoms of the disease.

The second involves the use of VCO as a supplement to the daily treatment regimen, in addition to the drugs being assessed in clinical trials, of COVID-19 positive patients at the Philippine General Hospital (PGH).

The tests are being conducted by the Food and Nutrition Research Institute (FNRI) with the Department of Science and Technology (DoST) in Region IV-A, the Santa Rosa City government in Laguna, and Medical City South Luzon.

The PCA will also support all clinical laboratory tests in the community-based studies to confirm VCO’s antiviral and immune system-boosting qualities.

“Demand for VCO has started to pick up with the on-going confirmatory clinical research at UP-PGH and at the community quarantine facility in Sta. Rosa, Laguna,” Mr. Madrigal said.

Other research partners are the Philippine Center for Health Research and Development (PCHRD), the Department of Health (DoH), University of the Philippines-Philippine General Hospital (UP-PGH), and a team led by Professor Fabian Antonio M. Dayrit of Ateneo de Manila University. — Revin Mikhael D. Ochave