Acts of Magis

Acts of Magis is a webinar series organized by the Ateneo de Manila University University Research Council (URC) together with the Ateneo Research Institute of Science and Engineering (ARISE). It is a series of lecture featuring the contributions of Atenean scientists amidst of the COVID-19 Pandemic.

CCARPH’s scientists, Dr. Fabian M. Dayrit and Dr. Emma E. Porio, were one of the scientists featured in this webinar.

Acts of Magis: Ateneans at the Forefront of the Pandemic


On Dec. 31, 2019, China informed the WHO of cases of pneumonia of unknown cause in Wuhan City and Jan 11, 2020,  Chinese state media reported the first known death from this novel coronavirus. Meanwhile, numerous unverified videos were uploaded on the internet showing many deaths from this new disease, which was initially called 2019-nCoV. On Jan. 30, WHO declared the 2019-nCoV outbreak a “public health emergency of international concern.“ On this same day, Dr. Mary Newport and I posted our first article on social media where we wrote:

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

Dr. Fabian Dayrit

In the webinar, Dr. Dayrit will briefly explain the basis for this proposal. Three antiviral mechanisms were proposed which were based on studies done on metabolites from coconut oil which are formed upon ingestion, such as monolaurin and lauric acid. The first mechanism will be discussed: the disruption  of the viral membrane. Although VCO and its metabolites are already established antivirals, its efficacy against SARS-CoV-2 still needs to be proven and the effective dose needs to be established. If frequent handwashing is an effective defense against this virus, perhaps taking VCO in sufficient amounts may be just as effective. However, as we learn more about COVID-19, it is becoming apparent that this virus can attack numerous organs in the body. So, we will likely need to do many things to protect ourselves from this virus.

Acts of Magis: Ateneans in the Service of Society


Coastal cities are highly vulnerable to climate and disaster events. The CCARPH enhances the capacity of cities to examine the complexity and dynamics of climate and disaster risks through transdisciplinary action research. Three principles inform our transdisciplinary action research and the crafting of public-private partnerships for resilience:  co-generation of knowledge with stakeholders,  co-creation of capacities of resilience scientists and practitioners, and co-ownership/co-benefits among partners. These partnerships mobilize science-based, gender-sensitive and socially inclusive resilience planning and development approaches and tools. The scientific community, then, builds climate resilient cities and sustainable communities through collaborative partnerships with national/local government units (LGUs), civil society organizations (CSOs) and the private sector.

The first part of the presentation focuses on the accomplishments of the CCARPH project. The second part  will highlight the CCARPH innovations during the Covid-19 lockdown. The CCARPH reinvention or recalibration focuses on three major initiatives: (i)  supporting the fabrication and testing of disaster resilience technologies,  (ii) co-organizing webinars with the National Resilience Council, focused on the resilient recovery of the vulnerable informal sector workers; and   (iii)  innovating with the National Resilience Council, a dashboard for covid-19 risk management platform anchored on GIS maps and the epidemiological analytics. Finally, the presentation concludes with the key message that university-based researchers are in the forefront of the crisis through their science and technology-based solutions and tools. 

–Dr. Porio is Professor Emeritus, Ateneo de Manila University. She is the President of the International Sociological Association (ISA)- Clinical/Applied Sociology Division and the Project leader of Coastal Cities at Risk in the Philippines: Investing in Climate and Disaster Resilience (CCARPH). Her research Interests include climate and disaster risks in relation to social-cultural vulnerability, risk governance, community well-being and resilience