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Top Philippine Universities Combat Coronavirus with Science

No matter what the politicians say, it pays well to do research.
IMAGE WIKIMEDIA COMMONS
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Scientists from the Philippines’ top universities are developing innovations and treatments to combat the novel coronavirus. According to a CNN report, the University of the Philippines (U.P.), through the National Institutes of Health (NIH), has developed a test kit for the novel coronavirus. The U.P. scientists were able to develop the crucial test kits right after China released the genome sequence of the novel coronavirus.

“This was developed two weeks ago immediately after they released the whole genome sequence of the virus,” said Raul Destura, lead scientist on the project, during a senate hearing on the spread of the novel coronavirus.

The test kits will be able to immediately identify whether a person is positive for the virus. They are expected to be widely available to the public through the Department of Health in the third week of February 2020. These  could be deployed at hospitals and all ports of entry in the country.

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Prior to the availability of test kits, the Department of Health would send samples of suspected cases to Australia for testing and wait for days for the results.

Ateneo Explores Treatment for Novel Coronavirus Using Coconut Oil

Meanwhile, scientists from the Ateneo de Manila University are researching the effectiveness of coconut oil in treating the novel coronavirus.

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According to Fabian Antonio Dayrit, professor emeritus at the Ateneo, lauric acid found in coconut oil, along with other derivatives, has antiviral properties that can be useful for treating the novel coronavirus.

“Because of the antiviral and antibacterial protection that it provides to animals, coconut oil, as well as lauric acid and monolaurin, is used in farm animals and pets as veterinary feed supplements in chicken, swine, and dogs,” said Dayrit in a paper published on Ateneo’s website.

“Given the considerable scientific evidence for the antiviral activity of coconut oil, lauric acid, and its derivatives and their general safety, and the absence of a cure for nCoV, we urge that clinical studies be conducted among patients who have been infected with nCoV,” read the paper.

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If proven effective, coconut oil can be a much affordable alternative treatment for the novel coronavirus. The Philippines is the world’s top producer of coconut oil.

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Mario Alvaro Limos
Features Editor, Esquire Philippines
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