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Thursday, August 06, 2020

Explained: Can alternative medicine work against the coronavirus?

In the absence of a scientifically proven cure or preventive for novel coronavirus infection, should one use alternative medicine?

By: Express News Service | New Delhi | Updated: March 28, 2020 4:43:41 pm
Explained: Can alternative medicine work against the coronavirus? An Indonesian local health service personnel extracts blood from an individual on self-quarantine, as they conduct a COVID-19 rapid test in Jakarta, Indonesia. (Andy Saputra via AP)

There have been multiple advisories from the AYUSH Ministry on COVID-19. Its long list of recommendations include Unani concoctions Sharbat Unnab and Tiryaq Arba, and the homeopathic medicine Arsenicum Album 30 for post-exposure prophylaxis for doctors and caregivers.

In the absence of a scientifically proven cure or preventive for novel coronavirus infection, should one use alternative medicine?

This is what the World Health Organization has to say: “While some western, traditional or home remedies may provide comfort and alleviate symptoms of COVID-19, there is no evidence that current medicine can prevent or cure the disease. WHO does not recommend self-medication with any medicines, including antibiotics, as a prevention or cure for COVID-19. However, there are several ongoing clinical trials that include both western and traditional medicines.”

Doctors are discouraging use of drugs recommended by practitioners of alternative medicine because a drug has to be developed keeping in mind its safety and efficacy.

For hydroxychloroquine pushed by the Health Ministry, the efficacy is still being investigated — but its safety has been documented through years. No such data are available for any of the traditional ‘remedies’ on social media.

The virus that causes COVID-19 is new — and its nature is still being studied by scientists.

Here’s a quick Coronavirus guide from Express Explained to keep you updated: Are smokers at high risk form coronavirus? | Can Vitamin-C prevent or cure coronavirus infection? | What exactly is community spread of coronavirus? | How long can the Covid-19 virus survive on a surface? | Amid the lockdown, what is allowed, what is prohibited?

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