(Photo grabbed from DOST Secretary Fortunato dela Peña's Facebook page)

MANILA – The Department of Science and Technology (DOST) will look for more participants in the community-based study on the effectiveness of virgin coconut oil (VCO) in treating coronavirus disease (Covid-19) patients, which it has been conducting at the Santa Rosa Community Hospital in Laguna.

During the "Laging Handa" public briefing, Secretary Fortunato dela Peña said most of the participants in this study -- with mild cases of Covid-19 -- were already sent home.

He, however, did not specify how many recovered and the total number of participants in this study.

"We want to add the number of participants. For 28 days, VCO will be included in their three meals," he said during the briefing.

Dela Peña earlier said the target number of participants is 90.

On Tuesday, he said half of them would be provided with VCO, to compare the performance with the other 45 persons who would not be given the VCO.

Participants should give their consent, and those who will be provided with VCO should be those without a high cholesterol level, he added.

The DOST also planned to do a hospital-based clinical trial to assess the possible benefits of VCO if given to patients with moderate to severe Covid-19.

This has not started yet, and will be done at the Philippine General Hospital, dela Peña said.

He earlier said VCO has antiviral properties and has no harmful effects and toxicity. (PNA