VCO in-vitro test vs Covid-19 ‘hopeful;’ ‘lagundi,’ ‘tawa-tawa’ next in line

The result of the in-vitro trial of virgin coconut oil (VCO) and its derivatives against the coronavirus at a laboratory in Singapore is “hopeful,” while its clinical tests are set to start in two Philippine hospitals.

The result of the in-vitro trial of virgin coconut oil (VCO) and its derivatives against the coronavirus at a laboratory in Singapore is “hopeful,” while its clinical tests are set to start in two Philippine hospitals.

This came as Science Secretary Fortunato de la Peña announced that the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) is also planning to have in-vitro tests of lagundi and tawa-tawa as cure against Covid-19.

Dr. Fabian M. Dayrit, the project leader in the VCO in-vitro test in Duke-National University (Duke-NUS) of Singapore, told the BusinessMirror that they are hopeful that the laboratory tests will result in VCO’s being effective against Covid-19.

When asked if the research is on schedule, Dayrit said “barring serious disruptions” it could be “finished in about four weeks.” The samples were sent to Duke-NUS in late March.

“Singapore has its own quarantine rules [because of Covid-19] so it is hard to expect the same pace of work,” Dayrit said through text message.

He told the BusinessMirror in an interview in the third week of March that the laboratory test in Singapore is expected to be finished in two months.

Dayrit had earlier researches on the safety and efficacy of VCO and its derivatives to both humans and animals.

He said the research has to be done in Singapore because the Philippines has no laboratory for the purpose.

VCO clinical tests

De la Peña announced last week that the Food and Drug Administration has approved the holding of clinical trials of VCO on Covid-19 patients. They are set to be held at the Philippine General Hospital in Manila and Santa Rosa Community Hospital in Laguna.

De la Peña told the BusinessMirror in an earlier interview that the clinical trials are set for one month and they have to test 45 patients from each hospitals.

Lagundi and tawa-tawa

At the same time, de la Peña told the Interagency Task Force meeting with President Duterte this last week that the DOST will test tawa-tawa and lagundi against Covid-19.

He explained to the BusinessMirror in a phone interview on Thursday that the two herbs will be subjected to in-vitro tests in Singapore.

However, plans for the research are still being made by the DOST’s Philippine Council for Health Research and Development.

Lagundi has long been approved by the Food and Drug Administration and is now a popular cough remedy, while tawa-tawa got the FDA nod as supplement against dengue last years.

De la Peña said since lagundi is already being used against cough it could also help against Covid-19, but it still has to be tested against the coronavirus.

The same with tawa-tawa, it also has to undergo a lab test to determine its efficacy against Covid-19.

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