Development of Medicine for Covid-19 Using Traditional Systems

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 Interdisciplinary AYUSH Research and Development 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 viz. Ashwagandha, Yashtimadhu, Guduchi + Pippali and a Polyherbal formulation (AYUSH-64). Overall, 150 clinical, pre-clinical and epidemiological studies have been undertaken by the Research Councils and National Institutes under the Ministry of Ayush.

Initiatives/measures taken by the Ministry of Ayush to prevent infectious diseases like COVID-19 are as follows -

1. Ministry of Ayush issued an advisory on how to protect yourself from COVID and how to stay healthy. In the advisory, in addition to maintaining hygiene like hand wash, use of mask etc. simple home remedies were also suggested for people.

2. A letter to all Chief Secretaries of States / Union territories was sent from the Ministry with more specific suggestions on augmentation of General Immunity of people and about possible AYUSH intervention wherever required in coordination with Health departments of the States / UTs.

3. A letter was sent to the Ministry of Health & Family Welfare (MoH&FW) offering to integrate and utilize the huge AYUSH infrastructure to combat the COVID-19 pandemic.

4. Ministry has sent a D.O. letter to Principals of all Ayurveda, Siddha, Unani and Homoeopathy (ASU&H) colleges to utilize available infrastructure facilities like Hospital (IPD & OPD), pathology laboratory, ICU and manpower including medical & Paramedical Staff to combat with the COVID-19 pandemic. Therefore, they were requested to offer their services to local health authorities for utilization of the available facilities by them as per the situation arises. Accordingly, the various AYUSH institutes hospital were utilized by State Governments and designated as quarantine centre, isolation centre, Covid care centre and Covid health centre.

5. Ministry of Ayushrecommends self-care guidelines for preventive health measures and boosting immunity.

General Measures

Ayurvedic Immunity Promoting Measures

Simple Ayurvedic Procedures

During dry cough/sore throat

6. The Ministry of Ayush launched a three-month campaign on “Ayush for Immunity”, through webinar and also published a campaign bulletin on AYUSH for Immunity. More than 50 thousand people participated in the Webinar.

7. Ministry of AyushandMoH&FW have jointly provided training to 33,000 AYUSH master trainers. Total 83000 AYUSH Personnel had obtained training at platform on a continual basis. Ministry of Ayush has coordinated with MoHFW to utilise AYUSH manpower as COVID warrior for the management of COVID-19 with identified roles.

8. Ministry of Ayush issued Gazette notification for undertaking research on COVID-19 through Ayurveda, Siddha, Unani and Homeopathy Systems including prophylactic measures, intervention during the quarantine, asymptomatic and symptomatic cases of COVID-19, Public Health Research, Survey, Lab-based Research etc. to generate evidence.  Ministry of AYUSH has also launched inter-disciplinary studies involving AYUSH interventions for COVID-19 based on recommendations of Taskforce. Under various research organizations and National Institutes under the Ministry of Ayush, 140 research studies in the country, are being conducted on AYUSH interventions.

9. AYUSH Sanjivani mobile app has also been developed by the Ministry of Ayush. It has documented the impact assessment of effectiveness, acceptance and usage of AYUSH advisories & measures in the prevention of COVID-19 through Mobile app based  population study in around 1.35 crores respondents. 85.1% of the respondents reported use of AYUSH measures to prevent COVID-19, among which 89.8% respondents agreed to have benefitted from the practice of AYUSH advisory.

10. Guidelines for Registered Practitioners of respective system of AYUSH have been prepared by Director Generals of Research Councils and Directors of National Institutes with their team of experts and the same are vetted by the Interdisciplinary AYUSH Research and Development Taskforce of the Ministry of Ayush. These guidelines are made available in the public domain for the benefit of registered AYUSH practitioners including Homoeopathy to help in the management of COVID 19 pandemic uniformly.

11. The Government of India has also released “National Clinical Management Protocol for management of COVID-19” based on Ayurveda and Yoga, prepared by the National Taskforce.

12. Ministry of Ayush has also released Ayurveda, Unani and Siddha preventive measures for self-care during COVID-19 and Guidelines for Ayush Practitioners for COVID-19 Patients in Home Isolation.

13. Ministry of Ayush has also issued an advisory for Ayush practitioners on ethical practices during the COVID-19 pandemic.

14. Ministry of Ayush vide its D.O. letter No. Y-18020/2/2020 –EP-III has requested all States/UTs to issue appropriate instructions to District Authorities urgently to involve District Ayurveda Officers in the management and mitigation of COVID-19 in the districts and utilize the services of Ayush doctors, Ayush healthcare providers and Ayush health care facilities extensively so that the shortage of manpower and infrastructure for the management of COVID-19 can be duly addressed.

15. To continue with the efforts to augment human resources for the management of COVID-19 cases, the Ministry of Ayush has issued advisory to deploy the available trained AYUSH human resources for clinical management of COVID-19 cases.

16. Ministry of Ayush has released Home care guidelines for children and an Advisory for AYUSH Practitioners about prophylactic care for Children during the COVID-19 pandemic.

17. Ministry of Ayush has released information for Ayurveda Practitioners for Prophylactic, and Symptomatic Management of suspected and diagnosed cases of Mucormycosis.

18. Ministry of Ayush has also released AYUSH recommendations for the public on holistic health and well-being, preventive measures and care during COVID-19 & LONG COVID-19.

19. Ministry of Ayush has released guidelines for Ayurveda Practitioners for COVID-19 patients in Home Isolation and Ayurveda & Unani based preventive measures for self-care during COVID-19 pandemic.

20. Ministry of Ayush has released an advisory on AYUSH interventions for prophylaxis & management of COVID-19 and AYUSH guidelines for COVID-19 cases for caregivers.

No such medicine is developed that can be used as a substitute for Allopathic, Homeopathic medicines or vaccines currently being administered against COVID-19.