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).


Baltić B, Starčević M, Đorđević J, Mrdović B, Marković R. Importance of medium chain fatty acids in animal nutrition. IOP Conf. Series: Earth and Environmental Science 2017; 85: 012048.

Bartolotta S, Garcí CC, Candurra NA, Damonte EB. Effect of fatty acids on arenavirus replication: inhibition of virus production by lauric acid. Archives of Virology, 2001; 146(4): 777-790.

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.

De Sousa ALM, Pinheiro RR, Araújo JF, et al. Sodium dodecyl sulfate as a viral inactivator and future perspectives in the control of small ruminant lentiviruses. Arquivos do Instituto Biológico, 2019; 86. Epub Nov 28, 2019.

Grant A, Seregin A, Huang C, Kolokoltsova O, Brasier A, Peters C, Paessler S. Junín Virus Pathogenesis and Virus Replication. Viruses, 2012; 4: 2317-2339.

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.

Kristmundsdóttir T, Arnadóttir SG, Bergsson G, Thormar H. Development and evaluation of microbicidal hydrogels containing monoglyceride as the active ingredient. Journal of Pharmaceutical Science, 1999; 88(10): 1011-1015.

Li Q, Estes JD, Schlievert PM, et al. Glycerol monolaurate prevents mucosal SIV transmission. Nature 2009; 458(7241): 1034–1038.

Piret J, Déseomeaux A, Bergeron MG, et al. Sodium lauryl sulfate, a microbicide effective against enveloped and nonenveloped viruses. Current Drug Targets 2002; 3(1):17-30.

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.

Sands JA, Landin P, Auperin D, Reinhardt A. Enveloped Virus Inactivation by Fatty Acid Derivatives. Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy, 1979; 15(1): 27-31.

Thormar H, Isaacs CE, Brown HR, Barshatzky MR, Pessolano T. Inactivation of Enveloped Viruses and Killing of Cells by Fatty Acids and Monoglycerides. Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy, 1987; 31(1): 27-31.

van der Sluis W. Potential antiviral properties of alpha-monolaurin. Poultry World. Downloaded from: https://www.poultryworld.net/Nutrition/Articles/2015/12/Potential-antiviral-properties-of-alpha-monolaurin-2709142W.

Widhiarta KD. Virgin Coconut Oil for HIV – Positive People. Cord, 2016; 32 (1): 50-57.

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: https://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!

3rd NCCL Tackles Waste Management as Social Responsibility

The Integrated Chemists of the Philippines (ICP) has successfully organized the 3rd National Conference of Chemical Laboratories (NCCL), held last October 16-17 at the Century Park Hotel in Manila. With the theme “Formulating Solutions to Chemical Wastes: The Chemistry Sector’s Social Responsibility”, this edition of the NCCL attracted more than four-hundred chemistry professionals and practitioners from the academe, government, and industry sectors, all with the pursuit of properly managing the chemical waste they generate.

The two-day event started off with the honorable Dr Adoracion Resurreccion, chair of the Board of Chemistry (BOC) of the Professional Regulation Commission, giving an update on important concerns regarding the chemistry profession such as the revised hazard pay guidelines, laboratory inspections, and customized mentoring on laboratory waste management. She also gave a brief summary on the results of this year’s chemist and chemical technician licensure examinations. Concerns of chemical laboratories which are yet to comply with the Chemistry Profession Act were also mentioned.

Ms Maria Josephine Gonzales (Nestle Philippines Inc) shared how Nestle’s chemical laboratories all over the country handle and eliminate the waste they generate. She stressed on the importance of investing in new laboratory tools and techniques to minimize the use of chemicals, thus minimizing waste created. Partnering with reliable and responsible waste treaters, she added, should be an integral part of any waste-generating facility such as a chemical laboratory or a factory.

Mr Roger Evangelista (Environmental Management Bureau) discussed how a laboratory’s chemical waste may be addressed through the implementation of a chemical management program, which is a documented procedure to make sure that chemicals are safely used and disposed of properly. With this, a laboratory should be able to comply with all applicable government regulations while reducing the risk associated with the hazards of certain chemicals.

Capping off the NCCL’s first day was Mr Reynaldo Esguerra of the Industrial Technology Development Institute (ITDI) of the Department of Science and Technology. He shared the best practices on how ITDI manages its laboratory waste. Being a generator of all types of waste, including biological and hazardous ones, the ITDI is compelled to have a centralized waste management facility to deal with them. Basic laboratory safety equipment such eyewash stations, mops for chemical spillage, among others, are sufficiently and strategically placed in their workplace.

The honorable Ms Teresa Cayton (member, BOC) started the second day with a report on the many chemical laboratories that the BOC has inspected this past year. She shared that while a lot of them are complying with the law, some continue to dispose of their waste using unfavorable methods. Other observations on waste disposal such as improper labelling of containers, misdeclaration of waste contents, and improper waste management procedure were also revealed. Ms Cayton challenged the audience to ensure that their respective laboratories handle waste properly and with utmost care.

CRL Environmental Corporation’s Ms Maria Carmela Capule, also serving as president of the ICP Region 3 Chapter, discussed practical approaches on managing hazardous chemical waste derived from physico-chemical laboratories. She gave a detailed procedure on how her company processes these wastes, and stressed on the adage “from cradle to grave”, the golden rule of chemical management which means that a laboratory is responsible until the waste it generated has been disposed of properly.

Mr Stephen Tronco (Integrated Waste Management Inc.) discussed how thermal treatment may be used as a new approach in dealing with hazardous chemical waste. He gave a thorough run-down on how pyrolysis works on different types of waste such as plastics and hazardous chemicals.

Lastly, Mr Ariel Entico (Envirocare Management and Precision, Inc.) gave a talk on the proper handling and transport of chemical waste. He stressed mainly on the legalities of how such waste must be handled, including the necessary regulations and penalties that come with it.

A covenant on proper waste management was also initiated by ICP’s President Dr Fabian Dayrit and Vice-President for External Affairs and NCCL Chair Ms Edna Mijares by affixing their signatures on the NCCL’s photo wall. Eventually, the participants also affixed theirs as a pledge to minimize the waste they generate in their respective chemical laboratory.

The 3rd NCCL was also an opportunity for the BOC to distribute License to Operate (LTO) certificates to chemical laboratories who have complied with the Chemistry Profession Act over the past year in a simple awarding ceremony. In addition, gifts courtesy of companies who have participated in the industry exhibition area were raffled off much to the delight of the participants.

The ICP wishes to thank the participants, resource speakers, and company-exhibitors who have attended and made the 3rd NCCL a huge success. Together, as one community, let us promote the proper management of chemicals and waste as this is a commitment not just to the chemistry profession but for the country.