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

Marje Pelayo   •   October 21, 2020   •   890

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)

Ivermectin clinical trials to push through this September despite delays — DOST

Marje Pelayo   •   September 6, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Science and Technology (DOST) said preparations are almost done for the start of the ivermectin clinical trial this month.

The clinical trial is necessary to find out if the controversial drug is effective against COVID-19, Dr. Jaime Montoya of the DOST-Philippine Council for Health Research and Development (PCHRD) said.

During the Laging Handa public briefing, Montoya said the agency had to adjust its protocol based on the standards of the international consortium before it launches the clinical trial for ivermectin.

“Dahil po may mga nag-review ng ating mga protocol na galing sa international reviewers po ay binago po natin ang ilang aspeto sa ating protocol para mapaganda pa po ito,” Montoya said.

Montoya added that the clinical trial for ivermectin in the country is supported by major international health bodies like the World Health Organization (WHO), the National Institute on Health, and the Centers for Disease Control (CDC).

Also, he noted the importance of the clinical trial to come up with evidence on its effectiveness against COVID-19, with Filipinos as the concentration of the trial.

“Napakahalaga na magkaroon tayo ng lokal na datos tungkol sa mga Pilipino na nabibigyan ng gamot na ito, tungkol sa safety issue, sa mga side effects, kung ito po ay totoong mabisa sa mga Pilipinong may COVID-19,” he said.

“Kailangan gumawa pa ng clinical trial para magkaroon ng sapat na ebidensya kung ito ba ay magagamit o hindi para sa COVID-19,” he added.

Currently, the DOST’s requirements are being evaluated by the consortium’s ethics committee.

Once it is finished, the DOST hopes the clinical trial for ivermectin will push through this month as initially planned.

“Ito po sa kasalukuyan ay tinatapos na ang ethics at technical review bago po ito magsimula dahil ang target natin ay this month po ‘yan dapat magsimula,” he said.

Philippines, all set for WHO Solidarity trials on COVID vaccines — DOST

Marje Pelayo   •   July 13, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Science and Technology (DOST) has confirmed the signing of a letter of agreement for the conduct of the World Health Organization’s (WHO) solidarity trials for COVID-19 vaccines in the Philippines.

“Nagpirmahan na [ng letter of agreement]. Pormal na po ang ating pagsasagawa nito,” said DOST Undersecretary Rowena Guevara in an interview in Laging Handa Press Briefing Tuesday (July 13).

“Sinasabi po dito na makakadiskubre tayo ng pinaka-epektibong COVID-19 vaccines na naaayon sa pangangailangan ng Filipino population,” she added.

The official said the WHO has already given its final clinical trial protocol, standard operating procedures, and four investigational brochures of the vaccines that will be put under a study in the duration of the trial.

She added that the DOST Solidarity Vaccine Trial team has submitted its requirement for review of the vaccine expert panel, the single-joint ethics review board, and the regulatory review of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

For the vaccine mix-and-match, Guevarra said they will be using all COVID vaccines available in the Philippines.

The official said they already listed 3,000 participants for the entire mix-and-match project which is proposed to be conducted in eight sites including Manila, Pasig City, Antipolo, Marikina City, Makati, Pasay City, Quezon City, Muntinlupa, Cebu City, and Davao City.

“Para masiguro ang consistency at uniformity sa trial, ang ilalahok lamang ay ang mga hindi pa nabibigyan ng COVID-19 na bakuna,” Guevarra said.

“Kapag ang mga bagong bakuna ay pumasa na sa Phase 3 na may satisfactory result, maaari na po silang isama sa pagpipilian ng Pilipinas at ibang bansa sa pag-deploy para sa kani-kanilang vaccination programs,” she added.

At present, Guevarra said there are four FDA-approved clinical trials in the Philippines, while seven new vaccine clinical trial applications are now in different stages of review by the vaccine panel of experts, single-joint ethics review board, and the FDA.

Guevara stressed that clinical trials are being conducted to assess and investigate the efficacy, safety, and immunogenicity of the vaccines.

Taal Volcano emits ‘anomalously’ high volcanic SO2 gas

Maris Federez   •   July 5, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — The Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Phivolcs) on Sunday issued a public notice of what it calls an “anomalously high volcanic SO2 gas emission from Taal Volcano.”

Phivolcs said the highest levels of volcanic sulfur dioxide or SO2 gas emission were recorded Sunday at an average of 22,628 tonnes/day, the highest ever recorded in Taal.

A total of 26 strong and very shallow low-frequency volcanic earthquakes associated with magmatic degassing has been recorded beneath the eastern sector of Volcano Island on Sunday.

“These observation parameters may indicate that an eruption similar to the 1 July 2021 event may occur anytime soon,” the state volcanologists said.

The agency reiterated its reminder to the public that Alert Level 3 prevails over Taal Volcano and that current SO2 parameters indicate ongoing magmatic extrusion at the Main Crater that may further drive succeeding explosions.

Phivolcs also said that it strongly recommends Taal Volcano Island and high-risk barangays of Bilibinwang and Banyaga, Agoncillo and Boso-Boso, Gulod and eastern Bugaan East, Laurel, Batangas Province remain evacuated.

The agency said this is due to the possible hazards of pyroclastic density currents and volcanic tsunami should stronger eruptions subsequently occur.

The public is, likewise, reminded that the entire Taal Volcano Island is a Permanent Danger Zone (PDZ), and that entry into the island as well as high-risk barangays of the towns of Agoncillo and Laurel must be prohibited.

All activities on Taal Lake are also prohibited at this time, and that residents around the Taal Lake shores “are advised to remain vigilant, take precautionary measures against possible airborne ash and vog and calmly prepare for possible evacuation should unrest intensify.”

Phivolcs also advised local government units to conduct health checks on communities affected by vog to assess the severity of SO2 impacts on them and to evacuate severely exposed residents to safer areas due to the unprecedented high SO2 degassing from Taal Main Crater.

Taal Volcano Island is still a no-fly zone as airborne ash and ballistic fragments from sudden explosions and pyroclastic density currents such as base surges may pose hazards to aircraft, Phivolcs said.—/mbmf

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