News Release

Palace lauds research efforts to find COVID-19 cure

Taking on President Rodrigo Roa Duterte’s challenge to find a cure for coronavirus disease (COVID-19), several institutions led by the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) have announced their research efforts aimed at helping treat symptoms, or finding a cure for COVID-19.

This was one of the good news announced by Presidential Spokesperson Secretary Harry Roque Jr at his April 27 media briefing in Malacanang, where he gave details of the DOST-funded researches, as well as the other research initiatives of other entities.

“Meron na pong dalawang pag-aaral ang pinondohan ng DOST. Eto po ay para doon sa mga tinatawag na clinical studies. Ang una pong pag-aaral ay pinatutupad po ng Philippine General Hospital o PGH at tinitingnan po nito ang potensyal ng Virgin Coconut Oil as a supplemental therapy dun po sa standard medicines na binibigay sa mga pasyente ng COVID-19,” Secretary Roque announced.

The second study, which will be implemented by the DOST-Food and Nutrition Research Institute, will evaluate the effects of virgin coconut oil in diminishing the symptoms of COVID-19, such as better breathing and lesser frequency of coughing.

Aside from these two studies, Secretary Roque also mentioned about a recent study being done to determine whether virgin coconut oil and its derivatives can prevent or diminish the infectivity of SARS-COV-2, which is the cause of COVID-19.

“Nandyan din po yung ating pagsapi sa mga tinatawag na World Health Organization Solidarity Trial. Ito po’y bunsod sa kagustuhan ng ating Presidente na makipagtulungan tayo sa lahat ng mga dalubhasa sa buong mundo upang magkaroon na po tayo ng vaccine o di naman kaya ay gamot para dito sa COVID-19,” explained Roque.

The said Solidarity Trial will test the safety and effectiveness of four repurposed drugs in treating COVID-19. These antiviral drugs that are being tested are: Chloroquine or hydroxychloroquine, Remdesivir, Liponavir with Ritonavir and Interferon (β1a).

Also part of ongoing researches involve the herbal drugs lagundi and tawa-tawa, with researchers evaluating the efficacy and safety of said formulations and supplement against COVID-19. Said research efforts are part of the all-of-government approach that is being used in the fight against COVID-19.

In the same press briefing, the Cabinet official disclosed the results of a survey conducted by the Philippine Survey Research Center on the COVID-19 situation in the Philippines, entitled “Public Perception Towards COVID-19 Situation in the Philippines”, where 80 percent of Filipinos agree that the Philippine government is handling the COVID-19 situation well.

“Mahigit walumput-isang porsyento sa sampung Pilipino ang nagsabing nasisiyahan sila sa pagtugon ni Presidente Rodrigo Roa Duterte sa COVID-19. Maraming salamat po at doon po sa mga hindi in agreement gagawin pa po nating mas mabuti ang ating pagresponde,” Roque quipped.

The same survey shows that the top six worries of Filipinos during the enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) period are the following: lack of money for daily needs, not enough food at home, loss of job/livelihood, shortage of food in markets, high prices of goods, and depletion of savings.

“Ang mga alalahanin na ito ay tinutugunan ng pamahalaan,” the Palace spokesman assured, reporting in details the various socioeconomic programs of the government and the number of beneficiaries that have benefitted. These include the Social Amelioration Program that provides cash subsidies to families greatly affected by the ECQ. Also, the Department of Labor and Employment’s COVID-19 Adjustment Measures Program (CAMP) has already given a total of PhP1.7 billion for the one-time assistance worth PhP 5,000 for 345,865 formal sector workers (as of April 25).

Meanwhile, 259,449 informal sector workers have benefitted from the Tulong Panghanapbuhay sa Ating Disadvantaged/Displaced Workers Barangay Ko, Bahay Ko (TUPAD #BKBK) program that reached a total of PhP1.14 billion (as of April 25). Lastly, the Department of Agriculture reported that 53,881 beneficiaries (as of April 24) were assisted through its Financial Subsidy for Rice Farmers Program. ### OPS-PCOO