Demand for organic products doubles as COVID-19 cases rise in PH

Katrina Domingo, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Mar 10 2020 06:17 PM

MANILA - The demand for organic products "doubled" recently after more Filipinos began buying goods that seek to boost health amid the spread of COVID-19 in the country, Trade Secretary Ramon Lopez said Tuesday.

Products with virgin coconut oil (VCO) and moringa (malunggay) have been "more in demand" after the health scare, Lopez told reporters on the sideline of a Senate hearing.

"Ang mga tao, pag nabalita na possible cure o mag-i-increase ang immunity mo, 'yung mga ganun balita lang sa social media, immediately 'yung demand tumataas so maraming naniniwala," he said.

(You know, when reports claim that these products can likely cure you or improve your health, the demand increases because many people believe in these reports.)

"[It] doubled easily kasi low base 'yan, so madaling tumaas," he said.

In February, the Philippine government started studying the efficacy of virgin coconut oil (VCO) to treat COVID-19, a new strain that has affected thousands worldwide.

Cabinet Secretary Karlo Nograles had said the Philippines has tapped the National University of Singapore to test the oil’s effectivity to combat the virus.

Using coconut oil as a possible antiviral agent against COVID-19 was first studied by Dr. Fabian Dayrit of the Ateneo de Manila University, and Dr. Mary Newport of Spring Hill Neonatolody, Inc. in their research titled “The Potential of Coconut Oil and its Derivatives as Effective and Safe Antiviral Agents Against the Novel Coronavirus (nCoV-2019)” published on Jan. 31, 2020.

The study proposed an extensive research on the potential of coconut oil as a safe agent against COVID-19 given that it has significant amount of lauric acid which contains elements that have shown to have “potent antiviral properties.”

It added that coconut oil and its derivatives have been shown to be “safe and effective antiviral compounds in both humans and animals.”

Meanwhile, worries over the spread of the COVID-19, also continue to demand for face masks.

The demand for face masks rose to about "one-half or one-third of the population," he said.

Health officials earlier said individuals who have strong immune systems, practice proper hand washing, and wear face masks in crowded areas are more likely to overcome the virus that has killed some 4,000 people globally.

COVID-19 may be fatal for the elderly, the immunocompromised, and those with underlying medical condition but 80 percent of cases globally showed a high chance of recovery "without needing special treatment," according to the World Health Organization. 

WHO said COVID-19 symptoms include fever, tiredness, and dry cough. Some patients may have aches and pains, nasal congestion, runny nose, sore throat or diarrhea. The new respiratory disease has left 3,800 dead and affected 110,000 worldwide.