A Department of Science and Technology funded clinical study on the prospects of tawa-tawa as a support treatment for mild to moderate cases of the coronavirus disease 2019 is set to start.
DOST Secretary Fortunato dela Peña announced in a virtual press briefing last week that the Department of Health ethics review board has approved the research and development project on tawa-tawa (scientific name: euphorbia hirta) as an adjunctive treatment against COVID-19.
The research and development on tawa-tawa is one of the research initiatives funded by the DOST in its effort to help the national government fight COVID-19, along with other efforts focusing on virgin coconut oil and lagundi.
This effort on finding indigenous treatments for COVID-19 is in conjunction with the DOST role as one of the lead agencies in the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases Sub-Technical Working Group that will select the foreign pharmaceutical and research institutions developing a COVID-19 vaccine that the Philippines will collaborate with to ensure a vaccine supply in the country.
This two-prong approach in the pharmaceutical front of the fight against COVID-19 will hopefully give our beleaguered government the additional weapons it needs to effectively slow down the transmission of the disease, prevent infections and minimize unnecessary deaths.
The DOST finding alternative and more affordable treatment options will surely reduce the financial and logistic burden of treating those who have been infected by the coronavirus. Tawa-tawa, VCO and lagundi are locally available and if they are proven to be effective in treating COVID, the benefits for our nation would be significant.
Let us hope that the research and development efforts bear fruit as soon as possible so affected Filipinos can take advantage of this initiative.*