I think it can.
The purpose of the vermiculite
is to hold "some moisture" a little longer
than just the perlite would.
That is why it is mixed in the ratio, 3 perlite : 1 vermiculite
The rez will stay moist
but the medium above the rez will get very dry
and this can affect the lateral roots near the surface.
I have a bucket with some small pieces of coco in it,
because I transplanted a clone from a friend
and it ended up with coco all in the bucket.
It works just like the other buckets.
I'm sure perlite alone will work,
but not as well.
You could use coco
or another "moisture" type media
mixed with the perlite.
I would mix coco mulch 1:3 like it was vermiculite,
if you can find some small size that can be scooped.
The object of your media is to make sure it dries out
between the time when you replenish the rez.
As the plant gets bigger it will suck down the rez very quickly.