VCO, Lagundi, And More: Researchers Try Out 4 Things To Remedy COVID-19 Symptoms
Getting through this pandemic is difficult (to say the least). But it's comforting to know that there are people around the world working to ensure that our New Normal comes as soon as possible. These include frontline workers, health staff, deliverymen and of course, scientists. Geniuses around the world are scrambling to find cures, tests and vaccines that could aid the lives of millions. But while vaccine studies have been placed on a pedestal by millions around the world, it would be unfair to discount those conducting interesting new research on a few possible Covid-19 cures.
Of course, none of these five items have been proven to cure or prevent Covid-19, but promising research shows its potential.
Virgin Coconut Oil
Virgin coconut oil (VCO) has long been touted as a holy grail for beauty enthusiasts and the health-conscious. But while opinions on the use of VCO as a health supplement have been polarising, one thing remains possible: it seems to have promising effects on mild COVID-19 patients.
A research paper from as early as 31 January 2020 had been published online by Ateneo Professor Emeritus Dr Fabian Antonio Dayrit and his colleague, Dr Mary Newport of Spring Hill Neonatolody, Inc. The paper points towards the effects of lauric acid and monolaurin (both present in VCO) as an antiviral. They are said to cause the disintegration of the virus envelope and inhibit its maturation stage. It can also prevent the binding of the viral proteins to the host cell membrane.
The first clinical trials were done on patients at the Philippine General Hospital (PGH) and then at the Sta. Rosa Community Hospital. From there, the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) had noted "promising" results after administering three daily doses of VCO to mild COVID-19 patients.
Researchers in Canada have been studying the effects of Açaí berry on COVID-19 patients. Their rationale, however, lies behind the biology of how bats responded to SARS-CoV-2. Researchers noted that bats have a pyrin-containing 3(NLRP3)-mediated inflammation when infected with the virus. Dampening this inflammation, they claim, has also been associated with asymptomatic patients and could therefore be key in reducing symptoms of COVID-19.
Açaí Berry, which is a huge part of the Brazilian diet, is not only a potent antioxidant but also contains orientin, which studies have shown can modulate the NLRP3 inflammasome. As such, researchers are optimistic about results from the clinical trial, which is currently ongoing in both Canada and Brazil.
In another homegrown clinical study, lagundi (also known as the Vitex negundo plant) is currently being tested for its antiviral properties on Covid-19 patients. The study, which had been approved last August 1, 2020, is currently underway at the Quezon Institute quarantine centre, Sta. Ana Hospital, and the Philippine National Police-National Capital Region community quarantine centre.
The study had drawn much hope, having garnered 200 volunteers for the study. Of course, the DOST does clarify that the study only aims to relieve symptoms such as cough, fever, and sore throat in mild patients. Those with more severe cases are still advised to seek treatment from approved treatments.
The artemisia plant is currently drawing a lot of controversy in the African country of Madagascar. The country's president had been touting an herbal tonic made from artemisia as a preventive and a cure for Covid-19. The tonic, which has yet to be proven effective, had been distributed to schoolchildren and hopeful citizens. Yet, despite the president's optimistic view, Madagascar has failed to halt its spike in numbers.
Despite this, the artemisia plant has been picked up by a few research groups, most notably in Germany. Artemisia is known as an anti-malarial; however, when extracted with ethanol or distilled water, artemisia had also been seen to increase its antiviral properties. Researchers are now conducting studies that place artemisia extract in teas and coffees to see whether or not this would be effective against Covid-19.