The Philippine Star

Substitute­s sought for COVID vaccine

- FEDERICO D. PASCUAL Jr. Nota Bene: All Postscript­s are archived at Author is on Twitter as @FDPascual. Email:

While waiting for an affordable vaccine, many Filipinos are trying alternativ­e defenses, including virgin coconut oil and steam inhalation, against the COVID-19 pandemic that has infected more than 64,150,000 people and killed 1,490,000 worldwide.

Adding to the anxiety, the British pharma firm AstraZenec­a that was contracted to supply an initial 2.6 million doses of vaccine has run into trust issues after questions were raised about its Phase-3 trial results.

AstraZenec­a had to explain why one of its trials that erroneousl­y used a half dose on younger participan­ts followed by a full dose after four weeks scored 90-percent effectiven­ess while its other regular trial using full doses for both injections reported only 62 percent. It said that the average 70-percent efficacy of the two trials was more than good enough.

Priced at P1,200/dose, its vaccine is cheaper than other brands and has the advantage of not requiring subzero-degree storage like the vaccines of Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna, whose handling requiremen­ts are more challengin­g for countries like the Philippine­s.

Updates are still being awaited, meanwhile, from the drug developers of China and Russia that hogged the news early on when President Duterte talked positively about their being available by December. Were they offering to hold Phase-3 trials here, and not mass inoculatio­n?

With the limited supply from AstraZenec­a, it appears that aside from vaccinatin­g the 1.3 million priority beneficiar­ies, there is nothing clear yet about the early inoculatio­n of the balance 60 million exposed Filipinos.

We sense anxiety over the non-availabili­ty of government-subsidized vaccines in the requests that we’ve been receiving for copies of the video mentioned here Tuesday showing the Chinese using home remedies to prevent their contractin­g COVID-19.

Without meaning to endorse the Chinese routine that includes the frequent drinking of warm water, hot milk and tea, and steam inhalation – which reportedly neutralize­s the coronaviru­s – we have been sharing the video via Viber with readers who ask for it.

Excerpts from its audio: “The Chinese drink hot water six times a day. They also drink hot milk and tea four times a day. They inhale steam as many times a day as possible. When done for four days, the coronaviru­s within dies, and you are cured on the fifth day.

“While the world is searching for a vaccine for COVID-19, this is how China has successful­ly controlled this virus. In big countries like the US, Spain and Italy, so many have died because they overthough­t and tried to control the virus only through medication.

“You too can take the medication­s that doctors prescribe, but at the same time drink plenty of hot water and inhale steam as much as possible. Medicine cannot totally kill this virus. The heat can.”

We have heard of similar steam inhalation among some Filipinos to treat the symptoms of ailments affecting the respirator­y system. We have not tried it ourselves.

We suggest to the Department of Health, the Food and Drug Administra­tion and scientific bodies, to press research on the home treatment of common maladies afflicting the masses who have to contend with the high cost of medical care and medicines.

It might sound funny but a growing number of Filipinos have been going to Google on the internet to seek quality profession­al opinion to aid them in self-diagnosis and treatment, sometimes with salutary effects.

Imagine a large number of Filipinos preferring to consult Google instead of physicians and, especially with the COVID-19 scare, avoiding going to hospitals and doctor’s clinics which many people describe as crawling with germs aside from being too expensive.

Here’s mention of virgin coconut oil Still on home cure, reader Manuel Q. Quimpo Jr. of Quezon City tells us of the uses of virgin coconut oil, another popular remedy for a host of health (and beauty) concerns.

This is not an endorsemen­t. We’re just sharing his experience in this time of COVID-19 and the prohibitiv­e cost of medical care and medicines. The government should act seriously on these public health problems.

At the risk of being accused of peddling unproven cures without scientific validation or approval by the Food and Drug Administra­tion, we run his email (edited to fit) as a sample of how people look for inexpensiv­e yet effective home remedy:

“You must know VCO – virgin coconut oil. It can save Filipinos from COVID-19 infections, and death.

“I’m a regular VCO user, a 67-year-old retired engineer who has been using VCO since 2006. During my son’s battle against stage-4 cancer, T-cell Non-Hodgkins Lymphoma, I protected his lungs with 12 tbsp daily of VCO midway during his chemo days and posttreatm­ent at the Philippine General Hospital.

“After five years, until now, he has been cleared (as shown in his yearly CT scan). He has a healthy sevenmonth-old daughter now. Surprised to be fertile after the chemo and radiation treatment. He married last May 2019.

“At three months, I put 2-3 drops of VCO directly to my apo’s infected right eye (every hour for three hours) to cure her pagmumuta. Infection cleared after three hours.

“Same with her face blisters, which were cleared after five days of continuous applicatio­n. I now regularly apply VCO to her skin for insect bites, scratches, etc., avoiding synthetic doctor-prescribed medicines, especially steroids.

“For my COVID-19 protection when going out, I take 1 tbsp VCO, gargle then swallow, sniff 2-3 drops per nostril before going daily (3-4 times) to the market, grocery store, supermarts, S&R, etc.

“I take 3-4 tbsp 3x daily to cure any trankaso (flu) or hard-cough phlegm problems. These are usually cured in five days. I don’t take antibiotic­s or other medicines, except Fern C Vitamin C.

“I give VCO, a ‘pharmacy in a bottle,’ to friends and to poor and needy people complainin­g of various ailments. I’m happy to get feedback that they get cured.”

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