AYUSH Ministry probes Coronil efficacy, asks to halt advertisement

Now Patanjali is saying

Within 24-hours after Patanjali launched Coronil, an ayurvedic tablet that the company claims can cure novel coronavirus within 3-14 days, the AYUSH Ministry has asked the maker to stop advertisement about its claims, unless counter checked. The scientific community of India also cannot vouch for it as of now.

The regulation comes from the Ministry of Ayurveda, Yoga & Naturopathy, Unani, Siddha, and Homoeopathy after the product kit consisting of Coronil tablets, a nasal drop, and herbal oil were launched Tuesday with claims that it can cure coronavirus.

The ayurvedic ‘cure’ was tested by Patanjali Research Institute and the National Institute of Medical Sciences on 280 COVID-19 positive people of whom 69% recovered in 3 days, and 100% in 7 days, according to the makers. Baba Ramdev reportedly pressed, the medicine is not an immunity booster but a ‘cure.’

The AYUSH Ministry in a statement has directed the pharmaceutical giant to “provide at the earliest, the details of the name and composition of the medicines being claimed for COVID-19 treatment.”

“Ministry of AYUSH has taken cognizance of the news being recently flashed in the media about Ayurvedic medicines developed for the treatment of COVID-19 by Patanjali Ayurved Ltd, Haridwar (Uttrakhand). Facts of the claim and details of the stated scientific study are not known to the Ministry,” the statement reads.

The ministry has also urged the company to stop advertisements about the miracle product’s claim to cure coronavirus unless cross-checked by the scientific community. The ministry cited Drugs and Magic Remedies Objectionable Advertisements Act, 1954 in ordering the company to stop advertisement and noted the gazette notification published on April 21 that outlines manners and requirements of the research studies on COVID-19 and AYUSH medicine/ intervention should be undertaken.

Furthermore, the Ministry has also directed Patanjali to reveal the in-depth details of the site of the research, hospital, the protocol is followed, sample size, Institutional Ethics Committee clearance, CTRI registration and results in data of the study.

“This government encourages Ayurveda and works for its glory…. the Ayush ministry has been given all the information regarding the 100% fulfillment of all the standard parameters of Randomized Placebo-Controlled Clinical Trial (of Coronil),” Balkrishna tweeted in response to the order.

The Corona Kit will be reportedly made available for Rs 545 for 30-day supply Patanjali Ayurved MD Acharya Balkrishna told in a press conference at Haridwar on Tuesday where the company is headquatered (Image courtesy of @videsichora via Twitter)

Launching the Corona Kit which comes with other supportive ayurvedic medicines, Ramdev told: “We are proud to say that through a clinically controlled trial-based, evidence-based method, we have first ayurvedic medicine to cure corona called ‘Coronil’ and ‘Swasari’.”

His announcement came at a time when the whole world including the US and the UK are racing to find the first cure. The WHO states ‘”at this time, there are no specific vaccines or treatments for COVID-19.” Despite a very strict lockdown, India is the fourth most affected nation with over 400, 000 cases of infection.

Patanjali stated the clinical trials for this medication were conducted on mild to moderate cases, and trial on moderate to severe cases are underway.

The scientific community has urged to stop glorifying a drug without counter-interference from an expert in the field. “I would urge caution from prematurely drawing conclusions from this study. We need to assess the study methodology and its design and examine the data critically before we conclude that the drug is safe and effective for Covid-19 patients,” Professor of Medicine, MGIMS Sevagram in Maharashtra, Dr. SP Kalantri told News18.

“[For Coronil] we’re not aware of such a study and its results. Just anecdotal experiences are not reliable as there may be many fallacies in it,” Dr. Naresh Trehan, chairman and managing director of hospital chain Medanta in Delhi told Forbes. He said he believes the ancient science of Ayurveda but “for anything to be considered effective it has to stand the test of a large randomized study to show its efficacy.”

(Cover image courtesy of @Apnarajuu via twitter)