Patanjali Ayurved, a firm based in Haridwar, Uttarakhand, has claimed success with an Ayurvedic medicine for the treatment of COVID-19 – but its claims have landed it in hot water with the Union Government.
The company launched ‘Coronil and Swasari’ yesterday, purporting the treatment to have a 100 percent success rate in curing COVID-19 (the disease caused by severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), often referred to simply as the coronavirus). In a tweet, Patanjali said the treatment marks the “first and foremost evidence-based ayurvedic medicine for Covid-19.”
“The whole country and the world was waiting for medicine or [a] vaccine for corona,” said Baba Ramdev, a yoga guru and co-founder of Patanjali. “We are proud to announce that the first Ayurvedic, clinically controlled trial based evidence and research-based medicine has been prepared by the combined efforts of Patanjali Research Centre and NIMS.”
Ramdev claimed that “the medicine has healed a COVID-19 patient within three to seven days. Our clinical trials have proved the efficacy of the medicine to be 100 percent. We are proud to present the first-ever ayurvedic medicine for the viral infection the world is grappling with.” The medicine reportedly underwent two clinical trials. “Under this study, a total of 280 patients had recovered,” said Ramdev. “The medicines checked the complications and there was no loss of lives.”
However, the company’s claims have been met with skepticism and a request for clarity from the Government. “Facts of the claim and details of the stated scientific study are not known to the ministry,” said the Ministry of Ayurveda, Yoga and Naturopathy, Unani, Siddha, and Homoeopathy (AYUSH).
The Ministry stated that “in order to make this Ministry aware of the facts of the aforesaid news and verify the claims, Patanjali Ayurved Ltd. has been asked to provide at the earliest details of the name and composition of the medicines being claimed for COVID treatment; site(s)/hospital(s), where the research study was conducted for COVID-19; protocol, sample size, Institutional Ethics Committee clearance, CTRI [Clinical Trials Registry – India] registration and results data of the study (ies) and stop advertising/publicising such claims till the issue is duly examined. Ministry has also requested [the] concerned State Licensing Authority of Uttarakhand Government to provide copies of license and product approval details of the Ayurvedic medicines being claimed for the treatment of COVID -19.”
Acharya Balkrishna, chief executive officer of Patanjali Ayurved, has said that the relevant information has been submitted to the Ministry. “This government provides encouragement and pride to Ayurveda. Communication gap has been done away with and we have 100 percent fulfilled all standard parameters for Randomised Placebo-Controlled Clinical Trials,” he said.
This is not the first controversy involving Baba Ramdev since the COVID-19 outbreak began. He drew criticism in March for claiming “we’ve done scientific research and found Ashwagandha [an Ayurvedic treatment]…doesn’t allow blending of corona protein with human protein” and that people should “practise yoga” and “follow a natural lifestyle to increase immunity and treat asthma, heart disease, and diabetes.” Ramdev was rebuked for his claims.