THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: For now, treating Covid-19 patients remains the monopoly of modern medicine. But the traditional stream of ayurveda is pushing hard to change the equation. Ayurveda practitioners are preparing to stake a claim of efficacy in tackling the coronavirus infection based on a scientific study of persons who have taken the traditional medication while under quarantine since May 21.
The Department of Indian Systems of Medicine (ISM) said the data compiled under the ‘Amrutham Positive Programme’ will be used to analyse the efficacy of ayurveda against the virus.“Under Amrutham, medicines are being provided to those who are in quarantine. So far, the programme has covered more than 1.5 lakh people. Only around 700 of them tested positive. The government is yet to allow the ayurveda stream to treat Covid patients. But it had given its nod to use medication including combinations for prevention, mitigation and rehabilitation,” said an ISM official.
The data collection drive and scientific analysis are being carried out under the direct supervision of the State Ayurveda Covid Response Cell (SACRC), the official said.
Dr Siddhi, state coordinator of Ayur Raksha Clinic under ISM, said the focus of the Amrutham scheme is on providing medication to boost the immunity of those in quarantine, even beyond the study period.
“Overall, 1.7 lakh people have made use of the scheme so far. We are providing medication to primary and secondary contacts too,” she said.
According to her, analysis showed that only a small percentage of those who took the medication under the programme tested positive for Covid-19. “The proposed study will cover 1 lakh people who made use of the scheme. We will analyse whether those who took the medication during the quarantine period developed any symptom, its intensity, and when they turned positive and recovered, among other aspects. The study is being carried out at the district-level. A report will be submitted very soon,” Dr Siddhi said.
‘Patients recovered within three or four days’
At the same time, SACRC is of the assessment that ayurveda could play a lead role in managing the spiralling Covid caseload due to its efficacy in not exposing a patient to complications. The recovery rate too has been found to be fast.
“Among the 1 lakh persons studied, only 342 tested positive. Also, they had mild symptoms. The most important fact is that they recovered within three or four days upon confirmation of the virus,” said an official of the SACRC.
Meanwhile, the Indian Medical Association termed the immunity-enhancing programmes implemented by the Department of AYUSH as ‘unscientific’. Such initiatives will create a false sense of security among the people, IMA added. The medical body’s ire is chiefly directed against homoeopathy’s immunity booster drops.