DOST eyes research-based techs to address dengue problem

Aileen Cerrudo   •   September 5, 2019   •   2225

The Department of Science and Technology (DOST) wants to look into research-based technologies to address the dengue problem in the country.

DOST Secretary Fortunato T. de la Peña said the department has funded several research projects and programs to aid in addressing the different aspects of the disease.

“Through the DOST-Philippine Council for Health Research and Development, we have funded a number of research projects and programs consistent with the multi-prong approach in the control of dengue that address different aspects such as diagnosis and treatment,” he said.

One of the researches supported by the DOST is the Biotek M which is a rapid diagnostic test for dengue. This kit can diagnose dengue as early as two to three days after the onset of illness. 

They are also looking into a possible herbal medicine for dengue.

“Dengue research and development has always been one of the priority research areas in the country. This is stated in the Harmonized National Research and Development Agenda led by the DOST,” said Sec. de la Peña.—AAC

Virgin coconut oil shows potential vs. COVID-19 based on DOST-funded study

Marje Pelayo   •   October 21, 2020

MANILA, Philippines — A research study conducted in Singapore and funded by the Department of Science and Technology, has revealed the potential of virgin coconut oil or VCO, in treating COVID-19.

The research showed that the COVID-19 virus count is reduced by 60 to 90 percent when subjected to invitro clinical trial of derivatives of virgin coconut oil. It also helps with the protection of cells and generation of antibodies.

Number one, nakakababa ng virus count ang pagpapa-react with the derivatives of coconut oil. Number two, meron siyang parang ability to preserve the cell that is being attacked by the virus. And number three, it has the ability also to regulate the generation of antibodies,” DOST Secretary Fortunato dela Peña explained.

The official said they are still waiting for the statistical analysis of the clinical trial of VCO conducted on 56 symptomatic volunteers at a hospital in Laguna.

Dela Peña added that all the participants have been sent home already.

“The fact na nakauwi silang lahat, bumuti na. Magandang indication. Of course hindi natin alam pa kung iyong mga bumuti ay iyon bang nakatanggap ng VCO,” he said. MNP (with details from Rey Pelayo)

DOST names 13 hospitals involved in WHO COVID-19 vaccine solidarity trials

Robie de Guzman   •   September 22, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – The Department of Science and Technology (DOST) on Tuesday announced that 13 hospitals will be involved in the solidarity trials of the World Health Organization (WHO) for potential novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) vaccines in the country.

In a statement, DOST Secretary Fortunato dela Peña said the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Disease (IATF-MEID) has adopted the agency’s recommendation for zoning on the solidarity trials for the vaccine candidates against COVID-19 which will be conducted this year.

Dela Peña said the vaccine candidates will be tested in eight trial zones, involving a total of 13 hospitals.

He identified these facilities as the Philippine General Hospital, Manila Doctors Hospital, San Lazaro Hospital, Lung Center of the Philippines, St. Luke’s Medical Center-Quezon City, the Research Institute for Tropical Medicine, Makati Medical Center, The Medical City, and St. Luke’s Medical Center-BGC, Vicente Sotto Memorial Medical Center, Chong Hua Hospital in Cebu City, De La Salle Health Sciences Institute in Cavite, and Southern Philippines Medical Center in Davao City.

The WHO solidarity trials will start this October and expected to be completed by the second quarter of the following year.

The DOST chief also confirmed that the Philippines is in agreement with five COVID- 19 vaccine developers that will enable clinical trial data sharing.

Dengue cases in PH down this year despite rainy season, DOH says

Robie de Guzman   •   September 4, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – The Department of Health (DOH) on Friday reported that it has observed a decrease in the incidence of dengue cases in the country this year.

In a statement, the DOH said the number of deaths due to dengue declined by as much as 78% from January 1 to August 15 this year.

The department noted that cases of water-borne infection diseases, influenza, leptospirosis, dengue (WILD) usually peak at the start of the rainy season in the months of July and October. But for the year 2020, there was an observed significant decrease in the number of cases compared to the same period in 2019.

According to Dr. Norielyn Evangelista, Program Manager of the National Aedes-born Viral Diseases Prevention and Control Program, around 430,282 dengue cases were recorded for the whole of 2019.

But for this year, it significantly declined to 59,675, Evangelista said.

Dengue mortalities have also dropped from 2019 with 1,612 deaths versus 231 in 2020, she added.

“After the dengue epidemic of 2019, we have been working vigorously to decrease dengue cases via a systemic approach that involves every level of the community,” Evangelista said.

The DOH official attributed the sharp decline in dengue cases to its strengthened initiatives, including surveillance, case management and diagnosis, outbreak response, and health promotion.

It also cited its cooperation with medical centers and local government units which aims to reduce WILD cases.

“Tulad ng laban kontra sa COVID-19, mas maiiwasan ang sakit kung tayo ay magtutulungan sa ating mga healthcare workers at LGUs para tuluyang masugpo ang threat ng dengue sa ating bansa,” Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Singh-Vergeire said.

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