ICP’s X/XII/ARMM/CARAGA Chapter Makes Ethyl Alcohol For Frontliners

Members of the X/XII/ARMM/CARAGA Chapter of the Integrated Chemists of the Philippines (ICP), under the co-leadership of incumbent president Mr Higinio Barros and immediate former president Mr Mark Valentine Balanay, were able to successfully make a significant volume of ethyl alcohol solution in accordance to the guidelines set by the World Health Organization. This initiative is in response to the lack of sanitizing solutions for medical professionals serving as frontliners due to the alarming novel coronavirus (COVID-19) situation.

On March 25, the chapter officers turned the first batch of alcohol-filled bottles over to the Northern Mindanao Medical Center in Cagayan de Oro City. The chapter wishes to thank those who have volunteered in the production of the chemical, and the donors who helped fund the project.

Donations to fund succeeding batches of the formulation are still being accepted. You may deposit your cash donation to the following bank account:

BPI Savings Account
Account #: 002323-0022-18

For further inquiries, you may contact Mr Higinio Barros at 0917-770-4150 or Mr Mark Valentine Balanay at 0917-561-7658.

ICP Welcomes Zamboanga Peninsula Chapter

The Integrated Chemists of the Philippines (ICP) continues to grow as its Zamboanga Peninsula Chapter (ICP-Zampen) has been formally launched last February 21 at the LM Metro Hotel in Zamboanga City. The launch was attended by 66 ICP members, made up of 47 chemists and 19 chemical technicians coming from 19 institutions in the area. This event also served as its first general assembly to gather its members coming from the government, academe, and industry sectors in the said region. ICP National President Dr Fabian Dayrit attended the event as its guest of honor and to throw support to the newest grouping of chemistry professionals in the country.

Together with the launch was the oathtaking of its inaugural set of officers, which was administered by Dr Dayrit:

President: Dr. Sheeva Y. Saddalani
Vice-President: Dr. Araceli A. Lim
Secretary: Mr. Allan Mark R. Ong
Treasurer: Ms. Knesa N. Ravis
Auditor: Mr. Reyner D. Anastacio
PIO: Mr. John Jill T. Villamor
Board of Directors: Mr. Oliver A. Atilano, Mr. Raymond Roy O. Aranton, Ms. Josel Marie P. Recentes

In addition, Dr Dayrit oriented the members of the many activities that the ICP regularly organizes, and challenged them to further uplift the state of chemistry profession in the region.

Congratulations and welcome to the ICP family, ICP-Zampen! Let us all work together for the benefit of chemists and chemical technicians in Zamboanga Peninsula!

ICP Kicks Off Chem Week 2020 with Seminar-Workshop on Risk, ISO/IEC 17025

To celebrate National Chemistry Week 2020, the Integrated Chemists of the Philippines (ICP) has organized a seminar-workshop on Risk and ISO/IEC 17025:2017. Dubbed “Risky Business”, this was held on February 17 at the Manila Elks Lodge in Makati and facilitated by international asessor and ICP honorary member Dr Edgar Paski. Despite the continuing threat of the novel coronavirus, the event was well-attended by around 150 participants, coming mostly from chemical laboratories that will undergo ISO 17025:2017 re-accreditation.

Dr Paski oriented the participants on the definition of risk — the effect of uncertainty on an organization’s ability to meet its objectives — and also discussed recent guidelines and developments on risk management and ISO/IEC 17025. Throughout the event, Dr Paski offered best practices and techniques on how an organization can best address its own set of risk and how to weather it to become an opportunity.

The participants were also treated to solving a few situation-type problems involving SWOT analysis and risk assessment, which should prove beneficial especially to those participants who are directly involved in their respective company’s risk profile.

Also in attendance was the honorable Adoracion Resurreccion, chair of the Board of Chemistry of the Professional Regulation Commission. She formally handed out licenses to operate (LTO) to chemical laboratories and gamely shed light on some issues regarding hazard pay.

Certainly, the participants gained a plethora of knowledge and practical wisdom on how to further improve their respective institutions on the issue of risk and ISO/IEC 17025:2017. The ICP would like to express its gratitude to them for attending this event, and for Dr Paski for graciously conducting it.

The Potential of Coconut Oil and its Derivatives as Effective and Safe Antiviral Agents Against the Novel Coronavirus (nCoV-2019)

The Potential of Coconut Oil and its Derivatives as Effective and Safe Antiviral Agents Against the Novel Coronavirus (nCoV-2019)

Fabian M. Dayrit, Ph.D.
Ateneo de Manila University, Philippines
National Academy of Science & Technology-Philippines
Email: fdayrit@ateneo.edu

Mary T. Newport, M.D.
Spring Hill Neonatology, Inc. Florida, USA
Email: preemiedoctor@aol.com

January 31, 2020

As we write this, the World Health Organization has declared a global emergency over the novel coronavirus, nCoV-2019, that has spread beyond China. There is still no cure for nCoV-2019. nCoV-2019 has been shown to be related to SARS (Zhou et al., 2020), a coronavirus which caused an outbreak in 2003. Several researchers have been designing drugs to specifically target protease enzymes in coronavirus, but testing for these drugs is many months away. What if there is a treatment candidate against the coronavirus that might already be available and whose safety is already established?

Lauric acid (C12) and monolaurin, its derivative, have been known for many years to have significant antiviral activity. Lauric acid is a medium-chain fatty acid which makes up about 50% of coconut oil; monolaurin is a metabolite that is naturally produced by the body’s own enzymes upon ingestion of coconut oil and is also available in pure form as a supplement. Sodium lauryl sulfate, a common surfactant that is made from lauric acid, has been shown to have potent antiviral properties. Lauric acid, monolaurin, and sodium lauryl sulfate (which is also known as sodium dodecyl sulfate) are used in a wide range of products for their antiviral properties.

Mechanisms of action

Three mechanisms have been proposed to explain the antiviral activity of lauric acid and monolaurin: first, they cause disintegration of the virus envelope; second, they can inhibit late maturation stage in the virus replicative cycle; and third, they can prevent the binding of viral proteins to the host cell membrane.

1. Disintegration of the virus membrane. The antiviral activities of lauric acid and monolaurin were first noted by Sands and co-workers (1979) and later by Hierholzer & Kabara (1982). In particular, Hierholzer & Kabara showed that monolaurin was able to reduce infectivity of 14 human RNA and DNA enveloped viruses in cell culture by >99.9%, and that monolaurin acted by disintegrating the virus envelope. Thormar and co-workers (1987) confirmed the ability of lauric acid and monolaurin to inactivate viruses by disintegration of the cell membrane. Sodium lauryl sulfate has been shown to be able to solubilize and denature the viral envelope (Piret 2000, 2002).

2. Inhibits virus maturation. The Junin virus (JUNV) is the causative agent of Argentine hemorrhagic fever. In a comparison among the saturated fatty acids from C10 to C18 against JUNV infection, Bartolotta and co-workers (2001) showed that lauric acid was the most active inhibitor. From mechanistic studies, it was concluded that lauric acid inhibited a late maturation stage in the replicative cycle of JUNV. From transmission electron microscope images, JUNV is an enveloped virus featuring glycoproteins that are embedded in the lipid bilayer forming viral spikes (Grant et al., 2012); this is similar to nCoV-2019.

3. Prevents binding of viral proteins to the host cell membrane. Hornung and co-workers (1994) showed that in the presence of lauric acid, the production of infectious vesicular stomatitis virus was inhibited in a dose-dependent and reversible manner: after removal of lauric acid, the antiviral effect disappeared. They observed that lauric acid did not influence viral membrane (M) protein synthesis, but prevented the binding of viral M proteins to the host cell membrane.

Although lauric acid accounts for much of the reported antiviral activity of coconut oil, capric acid (C10) and monocaprin have also shown promising activity against other viruses, such as HIV-1 (Kristmundsdóttir et al., 1999). Capric acid accounts for about 7% of coconut oil. Thus, at least two fatty acids in coconut oil, and their monoglycerides, have antiviral properties. Hilarsson and co-workers (2007) tested virucidal activities of fatty acids, monoglycerides and fatty alcohols against respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) and human parainfluenza virus type 2 (HPIV2) at different concentrations, times and pH levels. They reported the most active compound tested was monocaprin (C10), which also showed activity against influenza A virus and significant virucidal activities even at a concentration as low as 0.06-0.12%.

Use of coconut oil and C12 derivatives in animals and humans

Coconut oil and its derivatives have been shown to be safe and effective antiviral compounds in both humans and animals. 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 (Baltic et al., 2017). Monolaurin has been shown to effectively protect chicken against avian influenza virus (van der Sluis, 2015). Li and co-workers (2009) prepared a gel containing monolaurin and found it to be highly active against repeated high viral loads of Simean immunodeficiency virus in macaques and Kirtane and co-workers (2017) developed a 35% gel of monolaurin for application in the female genital tract to protect against HIV. Sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS) has been used at low concentrations to inactivate viruses in milk of farm animals (de Sousa et al., 2019). SLS is the active constituent in commercial disinfecting wipes and standard laboratory disinfectants, and is an emulsifying agent and penetration enhancer in pharmaceutical preparations.

Coconut oil itself has been shown to have anti-HIV properties in small clinical studies. The first clinical trial using coconut oil (45 mL daily) and monolaurin (95% purity, 800 mg daily) against HIV-AIDS was conducted in the Philippines. This study involved 15 HIV patients, aged 22 to 38 years, 5 males and 10 females, for 6 months. There was only one fatality and 11 of the patients showed higher CD4 and CD8 counts after 6 months (Dayrit, 2000).

In another study, 40 HIV subjects with CD4+ T lymphocyte counts less than 200 cells/microliter were divided into a virgin coconut oil (VCO) group (45 mL daily) and control group (no VCO). After 6 weeks, the VCO group showed significantly higher average CD4+ T lymphocyte counts versus control (Widhiarta, 2016).


Several in vitro, animal, and human studies support the potential of coconut oil, lauric acid and its derivatives as effective and safe agents against a virus like nCoV-2019. Mechanistic studies on other viruses show that at least three mechanisms may be operating.

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-2019, we urge that clinical studies be conducted among patients who have been infected with nCoV-2019 (see below). This treatment is affordable and virtually risk-free, and the potential benefits are enormous.

On the other hand, given the safety and broad availability of virgin coconut oil (VCO), we recommend that VCO be considered as a general prophylactic against viral and microbial infection.

A proposed clinical study

We can propose that a clinical study be conducted on patients infected with nCoV-2019 accordingly:

· Group 1: Control group, standard care
· Group 2: standard care + VCO (45 mL, approx. 3 three tablespoons, daily or higher,)
· Group 3: standard care + Monolaurin (95% purity, 800 mg daily). Monolaurin is recognized as GRAS by US FDA.
· Group 4: standard care + Monocaprin (95% purity, 800 mg daily). Monocaprin is recognized as GRAS by US FDA.
· Group 5: standard care + SLS (pharmaceutical grade, 100 mg/kg/day). SLS toxicity: lowest NOAEL (repeated dose, rat): 100 mg/kg/day (hepatotoxicity) (Bondi et al., 2015).


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Bondi CAM, Marks JL, Wroblewski LB, et al. Human and Environmental Toxicity of Sodium Lauryl Sulfate (SLS): Evidence for Safe Use in Household Cleaning Products. Environmental Health Insights 2015:9 27–32

Dayrit CS. Coconut Oil in Health and Disease: Its and Monolaurin’s Potential as Cure for FOR HIV/AIDS. XXXVII Cocotech Meeting. Chennai, India. July 25, 2000.

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Hierholzer JC, Kabara JJ. In-vitro effects of monolaurin compounds on enveloped RNA and DNA viruses. Journal of Food Safety, 1982; 4(1): 1-12

Hilmarsson H, Traustason BS, Kristmundsdóttir T, Thormar H. Virucidal activities of medium- and long-chain fatty alcohols and lipids against respiratory syncytial virus and parainfluenza virus type 2: comparison at different pH levels. Archives of Virology 2007: 152(12):2225-36.

Hornung B, Amtmann E, Sauer G. Lauric acid inhibits the maturation of vesicular stomatitis virus. Journal of General Virology, 1994; 75: 353-361.

Kirtane AR, Rothenberger MK, Frieberg A, et al. Evaluation of vaginal drug levels and safety of a locally administered glycerol monolaurate cream in Rhesus macaques. Journal of Pharmaceutical Science 2017; 106(7):1821-1827.

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Piret J, Lamontagne J, Bestman-Smith J, et al. In Vitro and In Vivo Evaluations of Sodium Lauryl Sulfate and Dextran Sulfate as Microbicides against Herpes Simplex and Human Immunodeficiency Viruses. Journal of Clinical Microbiology 2000;110-119.

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Zhou P, Yang X-L, Wang X-G, et al. Discovery of a novel coronavirus associated with the recent pneumonia outbreak in 2 humans and its potential bat origin. bioRxiv preprint first posted online Jan. 23, 2020; doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.1101/2020.01.22.914952.

Outstanding Chemist of 2020: Call for Nominations

Every year, the Professional Regulation Commission (PRC) honors the outstanding professional from each profession during the PRC Week which is held every June. We would like to invite active ICP members to nominate individuals for the honor of Outstanding Chemist of 2020.

The criteria for selection include the following:
1. Professional Competence and Integrity in the exercise of the Chemistry profession
2. Meaningful participation in professional activities through the professional organization
3. Significant contributions to the advancement of the Chemistry profession
4. Evidence of social responsibility through meaningful social activities

The Outstanding Chemist can come from government, industry or academe. The evidence for outstanding performance will depend on the sector where the nominee comes from. The nominees have to be evaluated and endorsed by ICP. The deadline for submission to ICP is on February 13 (Thursday).

For relevant forms and further details, kindly contact the ICP via email (integratedchemists@gmail.com).

Let us recognize the outstanding chemists among us!