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Arsenicum Album, Ashwagandha, AYUSH-64 and Guduchi Ghan Vati were most frequent interventions. (Representational Image)
Arsenicum Album, Ashwagandha, AYUSH-64 and Guduchi Ghan Vati were most frequent interventions. (Representational Image)

Traditional medicines dominate covid-19 vaccine trials over allopathic

  • As of July, a total of 203 trials were registered in the Clinical Trial Registry of India, of which 61.5% were related to the AYUSH interventions, while 30.7% were on allopathic drugs

NEW DELHI : Amidst race for covid-19 vaccine among pharmaceutical companies, close to two third of the clinical trials in India are being done on traditional medicines, like ayurveda and homeopathy – under the AYUSH system-- with highest public and private funding.

As of July, a total of 203 trials were registered in the Clinical Trial Registry of India (CTRI), of which 125 trials (61.5%) were related to the AYUSH interventions, while 64 trials (30.7%) were on allopathic drugs, reveals an analysis done by the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS), Jodhpur.

The analysis showed that just 12 trials related to the Chloroquine and Hydroxychloroquine as monotherapy or with other drugs were registered on CTRI. Beside, 10 trials were related to the convalescent plasma therapy, 6 trials to the Itolizumab and 2 trials were related to the Favipavir, as per the study.

Within the AYUSH system, 69.6% trials were on ayurvedic interventions followed by homeopathy 12% and siddha 11.2%. Arsenicum Album, Ashwagandha, AYUSH-64 and Guduchi Ghan Vati were most frequent interventions.

“It seems that the Ministry of Ayurveda, Yoga & Naturopathy, Unani, Siddha and Homoeopathy (AYUSH) is making reasonable efforts to encourage researchers to explore these products for covid-19. This is a good sign of future integration between allopathic and AYUSH system, as the practitioners from both streams are working together for the first time," said Jaykaran Charan, department of pharmacology at AIIMS Jodhpur also author of the study.

While majority of the trials were in second and third phase, around 45% of the trials had a duration of less than 6 months, the study said. Majority of the trials were associated with the “treatment" of covid-19 as compared to the “prophylaxis".

“Many ayurvedic preparations like Amalaki (Emblica officinalis), Ashwagandha (Withania somnifera), Guduchi (Tinospora cordifoloia) etc. are known to have immunomodulation properties and all these preparations are being explored in these trials and as these preparations are used since years for many diseases, has proved record of safety," Charan said.

“There were a good number of trials exploring the effect of chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine. Looking at the current controversy of the use of hydroxychloroquine and conflicting evidences being published in biomedical literature; the publication of these trials will be helpful in establishing or refuting the role of hydroxychloroquine in the treatment of covid-19," he added.

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