VERMAC: Coconut for treatment in burn injuries

A newly developed burn dressing gives patients a lower cost option to complete their treatment

A newly developed wound dressing composed of coconut based cellulose and monolaurin for the first aid and treatment of burn injuries.

The idea of this new product was conceived by Mr. Denver Chicano an EMT and Registered Nurse who worked in the Burn Unit of the Philippine General Hospital (PGH). After seeing so many burn victims in the unit suffering from the slow and painful treatment of their injuries from current available medications and protocols Mr. Chicano endeavored to find a new option for these patients and their families
The project for this new product came about in 2007 when Mr. Chicano, then a duty nurse at PGH Burn Unit, saw the patients who cannot afford the expensive medications and medical supplies needed to treat their injuries. Oftentimes these victims would not complete their full treatment regimen due to funds running out. Many of the patients in the PGH Burn Unit came from indigent or low income families.
He also observed how painful and limited the healing effectivity is of the current and available treatment. In studying the treatment protocols he observed several factors that attributed to this. Such as the lack of a moisture barrier, lack of flexibility in the materials used in the dressings resulting in open spaces or pockets or inadequate coverage of the wound area. He also noted that for dressings using traditional gauze material the regular changing of the dressings would result in some of the fluid exudates and wound tissues would bind with the gauze and would end up being physically removed along with the gauze dressing. This would result in the granulation / healing process being disrupted.
He used these observations as the considerations to produce a new burn dressing material which he produced during his off duty hours. His efforts would eventually result in the creation of the Vitro Engineered Restorative Microcellulose Absorbent Covering or “VERMAC”.

VERMAC is produced using coconuts as the main ingredient a readily available local crop that helps to maintain its low cost. It’s physical properties allow the material to conform to the size and shape of the wound thus reducing the occurrence of exposed wound areas and small pockets. In addition to this the material itself has been observed to exhibit bacteriostatic properties thus aiding in the prevention of secondary infection.
The material also creates and maintains a moisture barrier that helps to cool the burned area and reduce the pain that the patient experiences especially during the removal and replacement of the dressing. Ironically, during the initial production of VERMAC Mr. Chicano’s own mother was a beneficiary of this new treatment as she was involved in a vehicular accident which resulted in her suffering third degree burns.
VERMAC was introduced in small quantities for use in the PGH Burn Unit for study and comparison with other burn dressing treatments and dressings that were already available to the public. A study was also done by doctors at the Zamboanga del Sur Medical Center in Mindanao, the Southern part of the Philippines and produced promising results.
In that study VERMAC was observed to have good results in the management of bacterial overgrowth and wound exudates resulting in earlier formation of granular tissue and reepithalization. For burn injuries requiring skin grafting VERMAC treated wounds was observed to have a better uptake of the skin graft. Further studies have also shown VERMAC to be effective against diabetic ulcers and pressure sores.
VERMAC has also caught the attention of the Philippine Marine Corps who use it in the treatment of burn injuries incurred by their troops in the battlefield. It has also been supported by the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) and was recently featured as an entry in the Regional Invention and Contest Exhibit under the creative research category. It has also been presented in the Philippine National Symposium on Wound Care and at a convention of the Philippine Woundcare Society.
To upscale the production of VERMAC Mr. Chicano has partnered with Xyderm Corporation to produce it commercially. VERMAC is currently scheduled to be registered with the Philippine Food and Drug Administration within the year.
Currently VERMAC is produced in small quantities but can be availed of by the public through a Wound Care Clinic located in Marikina City. Doctors and patients who would wish to acquire VERMAC may also contact Xyderm Corporation directly.
Phone (+632) 208 3100


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