MANILA – The hospital-based clinical trial to assess the possible benefits of virgin coconut oil (VCO) if given to patients with moderate to severe coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) will go beyond the timeline, which was supposed to end by May 31.
“VCO (clinical trial at the) PGH (Philippine General Hospital) will go beyond May 31. We just have to check with Dr. (Jaime) Montoya if there is already a request for project extension,” Department of Science and Technology (DOST) Secretary Fortunato de la Peña told the Philippine News Agency on Thursday.
During President Rodrigo Duterte’s talk to the people late Wednesday, de la Peña reported that the hospital-based VCO clinical trial was originally scheduled from June 1, 2020 to May 31, 2021.
“Dapat po ito’y matatapos na sana pero nagdaan kasi ‘yong panahon na bumaba po ang admission ng severe cases sa PGH kaya dumalang ang participants. Pero ngayon, dumami ulit ang mga pasyente (The clinical trial is supposed to be finished by May 31. However, there was a time when severe cases admissions at PGH had decreased, so there were fewer clinical trial participants. There are more patients now)” he said.
There are now 42 out of the 74 target participants, according to de la Peña.
The DOST is also conducting an in vitro trial on VCO. This is being done in a laboratory, to see the VCO’s effects on SARS-CoV-2. “We have seen that VCO really has the anti-viral properties,” he told President Duterte in Filipino.
The in vitro trial is being conducted in Singapore since the Philippines does not have a facility for this, de la Peña pointed out.
Meanwhile, he reported that the community-based VCO clinical trial in Laguna ended last November.
“This clinical trial was for suspect and probable cases. Those who were given with VCO got well five days ahead of the group that did not take the VCO,” he said.
De la Peña, however, noted that the community-based clinical trial only involved mild cases.
Last December, DOST Undersecretary Rowena Cristina Guevara announced that more studies are needed to see the effectiveness of VCO as an adjunct therapy for Covid-19 patients.
“We note that further studies are needed to determine the effectiveness of VCO as an adjunct therapy for Covid-19 patients and with other comorbidities,” she said, as the community-based clinical trial did not include those with a history of heart ailment, with a history of high cholesterol levels, pregnant, and those who are taking statins. (PNA)