DAVAO CITY (MindaNews / 30 April) – A Department of Science and Technology official expressed optimism that clinical trials on virgin coconut oil or VCO as a possible cure for coronavirus disease could yield positive results, as it has proved effective against other types of viruses.
In a virtual presser on Wednesday, DOST-Davao director Anthony Sales said previous studies showed that VCO could kill other types of viruses by destroying their cellular coating, raising hopes that it could also work with patients infected with COVID-19.
“The VCO, based on previous studies, has been shown to degrade or denature the cellular coating of the virus or the viral envelope. Once destroyed, the virus will die as its components will be exposed,” he explained.
He added that lauric acid and monolaurin, which are synthesized by the body when VCO is taken, could inhibit the replication of the viruses.
He said the DOST has provided funding support to the efforts of renowned scientist and VCO advocate Dr. Fabrian Dayrit of Ateneo de Manila University and Duke-NUS University of Singapore to determine the mechanism how the VCO could work against the virus.
“The next step of Ateneo is to do clinical trials. It will be tested on humans because before it was only done on animal models. It was proven effective for animals because it has been used commercially for animals like chicken to prevent avian influenza virus,” he added.
Once completed, he said the VCO might require approval from the Food and Drug Administration as a “supplement” once clinical trials prove the product’s efficacy in battling the virus.
In “The Potential of Coconut Oil and its Derivatives as Effective and Safe Antiviral Agents Against the Novel Coronavirus (nCoV-2019) published on Ateneo’s website, Dayrit and another scientist, Dr. Mary T. Newport, explained “that lauric and monolaurin, its derivative, have been known for many years to have significant antiviral activity.”
“Lauric acid is a medium-chain fatty acid which makes up about 50% of coconut oil; monolaurin is a metabolite that is naturally produced by the body’s own enzymes upon ingestion of coconut oil and is also available in pure form as a supplement. Sodium lauryl sulfate, a common surfactant that is made from lauric acid, has been shown to have potent antiviral properties. Lauric acid, monolaurin, and sodium lauryl sulfate (which is also known as sodium dodecyl sulfate) are used in a wide range of products for their antiviral properties,” the study reads.
As of Wednesday, Department of Health-Davao reported that COVID-19 cases in the region remained at 129 while another patient recovered, bringing the total recoveries to 74. (Antonio L. Colina IV/MindaNews)