This website requires JavaScript.

IATF Starts Distribution Of Virgin Coconut Oil To Hospitals

IATF Starts Distribution Of Virgin Coconut Oil To Hospitals

UPDATED: The Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF) has started distributing virgin coconut oil (VCO) to hospitals in the National Capital Region (NCR) to serve as an adjunctive treatment for mild cases of COVID-19.

VCO Philippines president and United Coconut Associations of the Philippines vice chairman engineer Marco Reyes said VCO Philippines has coordinated with IATF co-chairman and Cabinet Secretary Karlo Nograles for the donation of VCO that will be distributed by the IATF to Level 1 or most basic hospitals in the NCR, epicenter of the COVID-19 pandemic in the country.

Reyes added the VCO Philippines’ move will hopefully be the start of the national government’s strong push to promote VCO as a prophylaxis or part of preventive healthcare, if not an outright adjunctive cure, for mild COVID-19 cases.

He had earlier expressed the frustration of local VCO makers on the seeming silence of the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) and the Department of Health (DOH) on the benefits of VCO in preventing and potentially curing COVID-19, as other dubious cures such as ivermectin, an antiparasitic drug, for animals, has become a health concern as some people use it a prophylactic agent or treatment for COVID-19.

“VCO must always be a part of every supplementation strategy for COVID-19. First, because it is completely safe. Second, because it is effective, at the least and, as of now, for mild symptoms as per DOST trials,” Reyes said.

The DOST-Food and Nutrition Research Institute (FNRI) had conducted a study that successfully showed that the mixture of VCO in meals of suspected and probable COVID-19 cases in Santa Rosa City, Laguna helped in their recovery.

The DOST-FNRI study, which was released on Dec. 3 and which entailed the provision of healthy meals mixed with VCO to 57 suspected and probable COVID-19 cases confined at the Santa Rosa Community Hospital and Santa Rosa Community Isolation Units, showed that all the participants recovered and tested negative for COVID-19 at the end of the 28-day clinical trials.

“The VCO group of patients who were served meals with VCO showed no COVID-19 related symptoms at Day 18, while symptoms persisted in some patients of the control group of patients who were served the same meals without VCO until Day 23,” DOST Secretary Fortunato dela Peña said during a briefing.

DOST-FNRI director Imelda Agdeppa, who led the VCO study, noted that of the 57 suspected and probable patient-participants that joined the study, a total of 37 tested positive for COVID-19. Of the 37 confirmed COVID-positive participants, Agdeppa said 19 were in the group given meals mixed with VCO and 18 in the control group that was given meals with no VCO.

The VCO used in the study were strictly analyzed by the Laboratory Services Division of the Philippine Coconut Authority (PCA) to ensure product quality and compliance to Philippine National Standard.

The PCA requested VCO producers to have their VCO samples analyzed by PCA prior to promotion and marketing, its administrator Benjamin Madrigal Jr. said during the release of the study.

Madrigal also stated that PCA is planning to develop the protocol in establishing the seal of quality for VCO.

Funding and monitoring of the VCO study was provided by the DOST-Philippine Council for Health Research and Development.

The Ateneo de Manila University Faculty of Chemistry, through Dr. Fabian Dayrit, provided research inputs and protocols based on previous VCO studies among human immunodeficiency virus or HIV patients, like the correct VCO dosages to be given and the analysis to be used.

Dayrit, also an academician of the DOST-National Academy of Science and Technology and president of the Integrated Chemists of the Philippines, supported the results of the DOST-FNRI VCO study, saying that several studies have proven the promising anti-viral properties of VCO and more studies are warranted to explore its full potential.

Dr. Ed Lalusis, who invented the patented Growrich VCO capsules or VCO in capsule form approved by the Food and Drug Administration, said the popularity of ivermectin even without concrete proof that it is safe and effective in treating COVID-19 raised the need for a safe and effective alternative.

For Lalusis, ivermectin needs more years to study in terms of its use for humans.

 “So why is the DOH still blind and deaf to try our very own VCO as supplement for COVID?” he lamented. “Let’s focus on something that has been tested effective rather than taking hapless action to an unsure outcome.” 

On Thursday, April 15, Nograles maintained that there is no harm in trying VCO on COVID-19 patients. 

Nograles said all safe and possible treatments for COVID-19 should be explored and studied. 

“At this point, we should be doing everything we can to help those who have contracted COVID-19. If there are possible treatments out there backed up by science, and trying these treatments have little or no risk involved, let us try them," Nograles said in a statement. 

“More importantly, there are zero risks involved. VCO may help them, and certainly will not endanger their lives,” he added.

Nograles has been distributing VCO to hospitals free of charge. He clarified that it was a personal initiative that does not involve public funds as the VCO being given to patients are donated or were bought using private funds. – With Alexis Romero