Practitioners of homeopathy seek trials to establish its efficacy against COVID-19

Leading practitioners of homeopathy have called for medicines of the branch to be tested for COVID-19.
The practitioners argue that with the medical community giving a trial to drugs such as remdisivir or HCQ, it is only fair that homeopathy be given a chance.

eading practitioners of homeopathy, such as Rajan Sankaran, have called for medicines of the branch, including drugs such as Camphora and Arsenic Album, to be tested for COVID-19.

If efficacy is proven, said Sankaran, the medication can be added officially as an adjunct therapy, standalone treatment or prophylactic (treatment to prevent disease).

The practitioners argue that with the medical community giving a trial to drugs such as remdisivir or HCQ, which are yet to be proven, it is only fair that homeopathy be given a chance.

Further, they sought trials in a control group preferably with standalone use of homeopathy to ensure there is no room for error to assess the effectiveness.

In a bid to use age-old therapies against COVID-19, the Central Drug Standard Control Organisation or the CDSCO earlier this month issued a notification allowing practitioners of alternate therapies such as homeopathy and Ayurveda to conduct research on COVID-19 patients in quarantine centres.

The Ayush ministry has also given its go-ahead to conduct a clinical trial on four Ayurvedic medicines against COVID-19. The clinical trial will assess the use of four ayurvedic drugs Ashwagandha, Yashtimadu, Guduchi peepli and Ayush-64 as a preventive and as an add-on to standard care for COVID-19 treatment.

There has been an increase in talk about the potential of homeopathic formulations as a prophylaxis against COVID-19. It got a boost after Bajaj Auto MD Rajiv Bajaj, a strong proponent of homeopathy, advocated use of medicines such as Camphor 1M 4 pills, twice a day for two days against COVID-19.

The Ayush Ministry also notified that Arsenic Alb 30 homeopathy medicine can be used as preventive treatment against COVID-19. The ministry suggested consumption of the medicine for three days on an empty stomach, adding that the dose should be repeated after one month in case COVID-19 is present in the community.

Homeopathy has also seen adoption in other parts of the world during the COVID-19 crisis. The Cuban government distributed homeopathy medicines to vulnerable people. In Brazil, authorities of cities such as Itajai and Rio do Sul gave Camphora 1M to more than a million people as a preventive measure.

There are examples closer home too. The Kerala government is said to have distributed over 4 million vials of homeopathic medicines as a preventive medication.

Other examples include Pune where the police commissioner K Venkatesham said homeopathic medicine was distributed to the force. He added that among the 9,000 policemen who got the medicine, the incidence of the disease was a bare minimum even after six weeks. People who have closely watched this development agree with this observation.

With the number of COVID-19 cases in its ranks crossing the 1,000 mark, the Maharashtra Police is now providing Camphora 1M to all its personnel. According to reports, the Punjab government, too, has administered homeopathy medicine to frontline COVID-19 workers such as the police.

Whilst anecdotal data seems to be stacking up in favour of homeopathy, allopathic doctors are not taken in by the idea, with key officials on the COVID-19 task force warning there is little scientific evidence to suggest homeopathic medicines work.

They argue that currently over 75 percent patients are asymptomatic or mildly symptomatic and get cured on their own. In such cases, if homeopathy is administered, it can get mistaken as effective. They warn that no medication should be followed without ICMR guidelines.

But homeopaths are confident that rigorous trials will prove their case, and say theirs is a recognised system of medicine and is used the world over.

Further, they argue that the right to access homeopathy as a preferred choice of treatment for COVID-19 should be left to the patient, as it is with other medical conditions.


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