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In India's fight against COVID-19, thrust from Ministry of Ayush has been unrelenting

In India's fight against COVID-19, thrust from Ministry of Ayush has been unrelenting

The Ministry of Ayush has been at the forefront to fight the COVID-19 pandemic by issuing various guidelines and conducting extensive research for medicines to deal with the virus. The Ministry of Ayush was formed on 9 November, 2014 with a vision of reviving the profound knowledge of our ancient systems of medicine and ensuring the optimal development and propagation of the Ayush systems of healthcare.

How is the Ayush medicine system faring on research for treatment of COVID-19?

Under various research organisations and National Research Institutes, 126 studies have been initiated in 152 centres in the country to identify effective medicine for managing the patients with symptoms of COVID-19.

It includes 42 prophylactic studies, 40 interventional studies, 11 observational studies, 22 pre-clinical/experimental studies, one systematic review, eight survey studies and two monographs preparation. The system-wise research studies include 66 from Ayurveda, 26 from Homoeopathy, 13 from Siddha, eight from Unani and 13 from Yoga and Naturopathy. A total of 90 studies have been completed and 10 manuscripts have been published.

The Ministry of Ayush had invited research proposals under the Modified Extra Mural Research Scheme for SARS CoV-2 infection and COVID-19 disease between 21 April, 2020 to 10 May, 2020. A total of 21 such research projects on the Ayurveda medicine system have been funded under the scheme. Out of which eight are of private institutions and 13 are government institutions.

The Ministry of Ayush has formed an Inter-disciplinary Ayush R&D Task Force having representation from the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR), Department of Biotechnology (DBT), Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR), All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) and Ayush Institutions.

The Inter-disciplinary Ayush R&D Task Force has formulated and designed clinical research protocols for prophylactic studies and add-on interventions in COVID-19 positive cases for studying four different interventions - Ashwagandha, Yashtimadhu, Guduchi + Pippali and a polyherbal formulation (AYUSH-64).

Which COVID-19 related medicines under Ayush have got approvals?

AYUSH-64 and Kabasur Kudineer has been identified for COVID-19 treatment.

What is AYUSH 64?

AYUSH 64 is a polyherbal formulation developed by the Central Council for Research in Ayurvedic Sciences (CCRAS), Ministry of Ayush. AYUSH 64 comprises Alstonia scholaris (aqueous bark extract), Picrorhiza kurroa (aqueous rhizome extract), Swertia chirata (aqueous extract of the whole plant) and Caesalpinia crista (fine-powdered seed pulp). It is an extensively studied, scientifically developed, safe and effective Ayurveda formulation.

It has been scientifically found to be useful in the treatment of asymptomatic and mild cases as standalone. AYUSH 64 can be used for the management of mild and moderate COVID-19 infection as an adjunct to standard care. This conclusion has been achieved through robust clinical trials conducted by the Ministry of Ayush in collaboration with CSIR and by CCRAS and National Institutes under the Ministry of Ayush. AYUSH 64 is also recommended in “National Clinical Management Protocol based on Ayurveda and Yoga for management of COVID-19”.

The Ayush ministry has issued orders to all the State AYUSH Licensing Authorities/Drug Controllers and Expert Committees to allow licensed manufacturers for AYUSH-64 under their jurisdiction for repurposing as an intervention for the management of asymptomatic, mild to moderate COVID-19.

What is Kabasur Kudineer?

Kabasur Kudineer, a siddha preparation is also found useful in the treatment of mild to moderate COVID-19 infection. Kabasura Kudineer of Sri Sri Tattva, Sriveda Sattva Pvt Ltd, Bangalore has been recommended as an intervention for prevention and mild to moderate symptoms of COVID-19.

Kabasura Kudineer was subjected to clinical trials for studying the efficacy in COVID-19 patients by CCRS under the Ministry of Ayush and is found useful in the treatment of mild to moderate COVID-19 infection.

What is the response to AYUSH 64 and Kabasur Kudineer?

In order to provide the maximum benefit of Ayush systems of medicine, a nationwide campaign has been undertaken for the distribution of AYUSH-64 and Kabasura Kudineer through the Research Councils and the National Institutes under the Ministry of Ayush across the country.

Based on the encouraging results of AYUSH 64 and Kabasura Kudineer in the management of asymptomatic, mild to moderate COVID-19 as an adjunct to standard care, the Ministry of Ayush is vigorously distributing these medicines across the country so that the COVID-19 patients in home isolation may be benefitted from Ayush systems of medicines.

A comprehensive strategy of distribution has been chalked out and the rollout is happening in a phased manner, utilising the wide network of various institutions working under the aegis of the ministry. This will be further supported by the countrywide network of Sewa Bharati. With the latest initiative of the ministry to launch a nationwide campaign for the distribution of AYUSH-64 and Kabasura Kudineer, India aims to strengthen its fight against the COVID-19 pandemic.

How Ayush Sanjivani is helping India's COVID-19 fight?

The Ministry of Ayush and the Ministry of Information Technology had come up with the Ayush Sanjivani App which was launched by former Union health minister Dr Harshavardhan. The Ayush Sanjivani App advises people on traditional medicinal items which are largely available at home.

The Ayush Sanjivani mobile application helps generate data on the acceptance and usage of Ayush advocacies and measures among the population and their impact on the prevention of COVID-19. A cross-sectional analysis of the responses received from approximately 1.47 crore respondents through this app, highlighted that 85.1 percent of the respondents reported use of Ayush measures for prevention of COVID-19, among which 89.8 percent respondents agreed to have been benefitted from the practice of Ayush advisory.

A total of 79.1 percent of users responded that the Ayush measures gave an overall feeling of good health while 63.4 percent reported improvement in parameters of well-being like sleep, appetite, bowel habits, stamina and mental well-being.