The Department of Science and Technology (DOST) said Wednesday that it would continue to conduct studies on virgin coconut oil and other natural products to be used as therapeutics to potentially speed up the recovery of Covid-19 patients.

“We have started already the formulations that will be tested initially in vitro for our Tawa-Tawa and Lagundi which have been known cures for other viral-related diseases,” Science and Technology Secretary Fortunato de la Peña said during the Laging Handa briefing.

De la Peña said the VCO test had been approved by the UP Manila Ethics Board for use for moderate and severe Covid-19 cases at the Philippine General Hospital.

The VCO testing will be administered to 50 patients for 14 days. A separate group of 50 patients who will not be given the VCO test will also be monitored for comparison purposes.

He added that the department had started conducting virology studies for Covid-19 and other viruses in preparation for the building of the Virology S&T Institute in New Clark City, which the Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases expressed support for last May 22.

IATF Resolution No. 39 states that the task force backs the establishment of the virology institute and reactivation of the Pharmaceutical Development Unit at DOST-Industrial Technology Development Institute as a “Tuklas Lunas Center for Pharmaceuticals Development,” for the strengthening of local vaccine development. John Ezekiel J. Hirro