Government advisory on Coronavirus irks allopathy doctors

The doctors alleged that the Ministry of AYUSH's advisory can be misleading as people may not go for a check-up when the symptoms show up.

Published: 30th January 2020 07:27 AM  |   Last Updated: 30th January 2020 07:27 AM   |  A+A-

A youth who returned from China comes out of Rajiv Gandhi Institute of Chest Diseases after getting tested for coronavirus in Bengaluru on Wednesday

A youth who returned from China comes out of Rajiv Gandhi Institute of Chest Diseases after getting tested for coronavirus in Bengaluru on Wednesday. (Photo| Shriram BN, EPS)

Express News Service

BENGALURU: Even as the doctors and the health department grapple with the novel coronavirus (nCoV) threat,  an advisory from the Ministry of AYUSH on using homeopathy has irked allopathic doctors.

On Tuesday, the Press Information Bureau of India tweeted, "Advisory for #CoronaVirus, Homoeopathy for Prevention of Coronavirus Infections, Unani Medicines useful in the symptomatic management of Corona Virus infection (sic)."

The press release included instructions such as maintaining personal hygiene, washing hands, avoiding close contact with people who are sick, using an N95 mask while travelling, among others.

But the problematic one, according to allopathic doctors, was that the advisory had a prescription of drugs along with dosage for coronavirus. The advisory had said that the 64th meeting of its Scientific Advisory Board met on Monday and the group “recommended that homeopathy medicine Arsenicum Album-30  could be taken as prophylactic medicine against Coronavirus infections.”

"An advisory like this at a point of time when the entire country is worried could cause several problems. It could be misleading as people might follow it and consider themselves protected or might not report to a health facility if they have relevant symptoms and history which could enable quick workup and management, and prevention of any further spread," said Dr Anant Bhan, Researcher, Bioethics, Global Health and Policy.

Experts from the medical field opined that there was seemingly no evidence on the efficacy of these prevention modalities and management protocol, and no data to substantiate its deployment.

Dr C Ramesh, Professor and Head of the Department, Department of Epidimeology and Biostatistics at Kidwai Institute of Oncology said, "These medicines might boost the immunity of the person and they might have meant that. But there is no research done and every molecule takes several tests before it comes into the market. So to claim that these medicines will prevent or cure is too early and misleading."

At this time, the government should rather focus on raising public awareness on signs and symptoms of the illness, when to report to a facility and where. And devise comprehensive precautionary measures and plan for an outbreak scenario, Dr Anant said.

Other doctors said the government should be releasing advisories on the treatment plan, give information on the number of isolation centres and precautionary measures taken to ensure the virus doesn’t spread, instead of issuing such advisories.

Rationalist organisation questions govt advisory

BENGALURU: The Federation of Indian Rationalist Associations deemed the government’s ‘advisory for coronavirus’ as ‘quackery in the name of alternative medicine.’ The government put out an elaborate list of do’s and don’ts to prevent the infection.

"When all the authorities including the World Health Organisation state that there was neither a vaccine nor any treatment for coronavirus, the government is promoting this kind of unproven therapy to lull people into a false sense of security that they can be safe if they consume such concoctions," said the the president of the federation Narendra Nayak, in a statement. He also questioned the silence of medical bodies on this ‘blatant falsehood.’

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