India’s traditional systems of medicine, including ayurveda, have several proven preventive and curative drugs and therapies, but Patanjali Ayurved Ltd’s claim of a breakthrough cure for the coronavirus disease (Covid-19) needs vetting, experts said, despite the company claiming to have conducted a randomised placebo-controlled clinical trial.
The principal investigator running the clinical trial at a Jaipur medical college confirmed the findings but said they were preliminary and the study, ongoing. He also clarified that the study was conducted on patients who were asymptomatic or had mild symptoms, between the ages of 35 and 45, and that no people with co-morbidities (considered the most vulnerable to the disease) were part of the trial.
Interestingly, a spokesperson for Patanjali, SK Tijarawala said that the company never “claimed that it (the medicines) were a cure for coronavirus disease; all we said was that the medicines in our kit that Patanjali has been selling individually to boost immunity and provide relief to patients of respiratory illness has been effective in improving symptoms of Covid-19 patients”.
Patanjali submitted (preliminary) results of the clinical trial to the ministry of Ayush (Ayurveda, Yoga & Naturopathy, Unani, Siddha and Homoeopathy) only after the latter demanded ”facts of the claim and details of the stated scientific study”. That came after the company, promoted by yoga guru Baba Ramdev, went public with its discovery. He was later interviewed by several TV channels where he talked up the discovery. The scientific title of its clinical trial, according to documents submitted by the company is : Impact of Indian traditional Ayurvedic treatment regime for nCov-2 (Covid-19)
On Tuesday, the ministry also directed the company to stop advertising the product till the claim was verified. The Ayush ministry is currently in the process of examining the documents.