Dengue cases continue to rise; 11 regions still exceed dengue alert threshold

Aileen Cerrudo   •   September 3, 2019   •   1550

Dengue cases in the country continue to rise with 229,736 cases and 958 deaths reported from January 1 to August 17.

Eleven regions still exceed the alert threshold for three consecutive weeks.

Based on the recent Dengue Surveillance Report, 13,327 dengue cases were recorded from August 11 to 17 with 40 deaths.

Region 1 and the National Capital Region (NCR) has exceeded the dengue alert threshold.

CALABARZON, MIMAROPA, Regions 5, 6, 8, 9, 10, 12, and BARMM, on the other hand, have exceeded the epidemic threshold.

The recorded dengue cases for from August 11-17 this year is 54% higher compared to the recorded cases last year during the same period.—AAC (with reports from Mai Bermudez)

Scientist sees coconut oil as potential nCoV treatment

Aileen Cerrudo   •   February 7, 2020

A scientist is looking into coconut oil as a potential treatment for the novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV).

Ateneo de Manila University chemistry professor Dr. Fabian Dayrit said coconut oil has antiviral agents which can help in the treatment of nCoV.

Lauric acid is a fatty acid found in coconut oil while monolaurin is a compound that is produced naturally when one consumes virgin coconut oil (VCO). It is also commercially available through chemical synthesis.

Dr. Dayrit said there had been several clinical studies proving the potential of coconut oil against various diseases including human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) and Junin virus which is similar to nCoV.

“As far as the available literature is concerned, it is very promising. Kasi it had been shown to work in other viruses. So, wala namang risk. So, why not try it,” he said.

“It’s not a proof, but there is enough evidence that it might work,” he added.

Dr. Dayrit said that based on research, the said antiviral agents can potentially destroy the cell membrane of a virus and stop its maturity.

“It has been shown that lauric acid and monolaurin can inhibit the replication,” he said.

The Philippines is also abundant in coconut which can produce cheaper coconut oil.

According to the Philippine Coconut Authority, the Philippines is the number one exporter of virgin coconut oil in the world. Coconut oil is also safe for animals which is also used as food supplements for farm animals and pets.

Dr. Dayrit explained that for a proper clinical study you would need a few hundred subjects depending on study design.

“We don’t have that many coronavirus patients. So, I think we have to design it to test it out just to show that it can actually work and we can move on from there,” he said.

Meanwhile, the Department of Health (DOH) is open to conduct clinical tests for the potential of coconut oil.

DOH USec. Eric Domingo said a lot of evidence is needed when it comes to treatment and management. He also calls on researchers to come up ways to look into potential treatments for nCoV.

“We are requesting iyong ating researchers dito kung pwedeng tingnan, (our researchers if they can look into it),” he said.—AAC (with reports from Harlene Delgado)

RITM: ‘Reserve’ face masks to those who really need it

Aileen Cerrudo   •   February 4, 2020

The Research Institute for Tropical Medicine (RITM) is not recommending the general public to wear face masks, saying it should be “reserved for those who really need it”.

In a press conference in Malacañang on Monday (February 3), RITM Director Celia Carlos said the wearing of face masks is recommended for health workers and people with respiratory illness.

“There is now a current shortage of this valuable commodity and let us give them to those who need them most, especially the health workers,” she said.

“Currently, since there is no community transmission of the novel coronavirus in the Philippines, we are not recommending its use for the general public who do not have respiratory symptoms,” she added.

Instead, the health official advised the public to practice proper hygiene by regularly washing their hands. She also advised people to avoid touching their eyes, nose or mouth with unclean hands or unwashed hands.

“We need to observe good hand hygiene and we need to eat and drink from safe, clean and reliable sources,” she said.—AAC

Chinese workers do overtime to ensure medical supplies amid coronavirus outbreak

UNTV News   •   January 28, 2020

Companies in east and southwest China have called off their Lunar New Year holiday with staff working overtime to ensure the supply of medical supplies meets the surging demand triggered by the viral pneumonia caused by novel coronavirus which originated in central China’s Wuhan City in mid-December.

In the city of Suzhou, east China’s Jiangsu Province, employees from production workshop of Suzhou Jane Medical Technology worked overtime to produce protective clothes and package them. This company will produce 80,000 medical masks and 200 protective clothes per day.

To cope with the shortage of manpower in the workshops, the local government helped to organize volunteer teams to help with production and packaging.

“We have dozens of employees and a lot of volunteers now. We have more than 40 people working in the production lines. We will ensure about 40,000 masks in 80 boxes are sent to Suzhou Center for Disease Control and Prevention everyday,” said a staff member of operation department of Selun Technology Co., Ltd.

Not only in Jiangsu, companies in southwest China’s Chongqing Municipality and east China’s Shanghai all called off their Lunar New Year holiday to resume production, so as to be able to produce medical supplies in time.

In Chongqing, some community centers and some other places arranged special mask collection setpoints for discarded masks.

In Shanghai, a large number workers return back to their hometown because of the Lunar New Year holiday, however, they were called back to return to their posts. They do not have any complaint and hope to do something to help society during this stressful time.

“The outbreak is severe now. I hope to do something for others. I hope this could end soon so that we can get back for family reunion,” said Lin Yan, a worker packing masks.

At present, 26 production enterprises in Shanghai can produce more than 1.8 million masks per day. A lot of other companies have resumed production lines.

Shanghai Pharma have launched emergency response plans, connecting all channels to prepare medical products such as masks, protective clothes and emergency medicines to cope with the shortage of the medical supplies to ensure the unimpeded flow of product logistics.

Up till Monday, the Shanghai Pharma has sent 2.8 million masks to the major pharmacies in the city. So far, the 24-hour material supply line has been opened, especially to the health commission and more than 800 medical institutes.

“The manufacturing enterprises affiliated with Shanghai Pharma and the enterprises related to antiviral epidemic prevention are working overtime to produce supplies. We have started procurement processes globally and our strategic partners have ensured the domestic market as much as possible with the materials and medicines we need,” said Zhou Jun, president of Shanghai Pharma. (Reuters)

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