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Explained: How to read the AYUSH ministry advisory on coronavirus infection

The advisory listed several "preventive management steps" as per ayurvedic practices, and several "Unani medicines useful in symptomatic management of Corona Virus infection".

By: Explained Desk | New Delhi | Updated: January 30, 2020 9:28:17 am
AYUSH ministry, coronavirus infection, AYUSH ministry advisory on coronavirus, coronavirus treatment, WHO on coronavirus, indian express, indian express explained The 2019 Novel Coronavirus, or 2019-nCoV, is a new respiratory virus that has not been previously identified.

On Wednesday (January 29), the Ministry of AYUSH issued an “Advisory for Corona virus”, “based on the Indian traditional medicine practices Ayurveda, Homeopathy and Unani”.

The advisory listed several “Preventive Management Steps” as per ayurvedic practices, and several “Unani Medicines useful in symptomatic management of Corona Virus infection”. Follow Coronavirus outbreak LIVE Updates

What is the advice on Ayurveda?

The Ayurveda advice included drinking “Shadang Paniya (Musta, Parpat, Usheer, Chandan,Udeechya & Nagar) processed water (10 gm powder boiled in 1 litre water, until it reduces to half)”, and taking “Agastya Harityaki 5 gm, twice a day with warm water”, “Samshamani Vati 500 mg twice a day”, “Trikatu (Pippali, Marich & Shunthi) powder 5 gm and Tulasi 3-5 leaves (boiled in 1 litre water, until it reduces to ½ litre…)”, and “Pratimarsa Nasya: Instill two drops of Anu taila/Sesame oil in each nostril daily in the morning”.

The ministry cautioned that its “advocacy is for information only and shall be adopted in consultation with registered Ayurveda practitioners only”.

What does the Ministry say on Homoeopathy?

The Ministry said that the Central Council for Research in Homoeopathy, after a meeting of its Scientific Advisory Board on January 28, had recommended “that homoeopathy medicine Arsenicum album 30 could be taken as prophylactic medicine against Coronavirus infections… daily in empty stomach for three days”.

And what about Unani?

The Ministry listed several medicines, including “Sharbat Unnab 10-20 ml twice a day”, “Tiryaq Arba 3-5 g twice a day”, “Tiryaq Nazla 5 g twice a day”, and “Khamira Marwareed 3-5 g once a day”.

It also advised “massage on scalp and chest with Roghan Baboona/Roghan Mom/Kafoori Balm”, and to “apply Roghan Banafsha gently in the nostrils”, among other things.

Can these measures help?

Unani and Ayurveda are traditional Indian systems of medicine that many people find beneficial and have great faith in. The Government of India has a Ministry of AYUSH, or Ayurveda, Yoga and Naturopathy, Unani, Siddha and Homeopathy.

However, it is important to note the following about the mysterious and deadly coronavirus that has now infected 4,500 people and killed over 100, mainly in China, but elsewhere too.

* The 2019 Novel Coronavirus, or 2019-nCoV, is a new respiratory virus that has not been previously identified.
* Virologists and public health officials around the world are working to identify the source of the 2019-nCoV. The virus probably originally came from an animal source, but is now spreading from human to human.
* Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses, some of which cause illness in humans, and and some others circulate among animals, including camels, cats and bats. SARS was caused by a coronavirus that came from bats through civet cats, and the MERS coronavirus came from camels.
* Global health authorities have so far not identified any effective therapy against infection by the ‘Wuhan’ coronavirus.

What does the WHO say?

On January 28, the World Health Organization (WHO) released the first edition of its “interim guidance” for the “clinical management of severe acute respiratory infection when novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV) infection is suspected”.

Under the heading “Specific anti-Novel-CoV treatments and clinical research”, the WHO document said: “There is no current evidence from RCTs to recommend any specific anti-nCoV treatment for patients with suspected or confirmed 2019-nCoV infection.”

RCTs are Randomised Controlled Trials, considered the gold standard for evaluating healthcare outcomes, which, according to the United Nations “provide a very powerful response to questions of causality, helping evaluators and programme implementers to know that what is being achieved is as a result of the intervention and not anything else”.

The WHO document cautioned: “Unlicensed treatments should be administered only in the context of ethically-approved clinical trials or the Monitored Emergency Use of Unregistered Interventions Framework (MEURI), with strict monitoring.”

Early on Wednesday morning India time, the WHO posted on Twitter: “As there is currently no known effective antiviral therapy for the new #coronavirus (2019-nCoV), the WHO R&D blueprint is conducting a systematic review to evaluate potential therapeutics and develop master clinical protocols that are necessary to accelerate this globally.”

Who agrees with the WHO?

The United States federal agency Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says on its “2019 Novel Coronavirus” web page: “There is no specific antiviral treatment recommended for 2019-nCoV infection. People infected with 2019-nCoV should receive supportive care to help relieve symptoms. For severe cases, treatment should include care to support vital organ functions.

People who think they may have been exposed to 2019-nCoV should contact your healthcare provider immediately.”
The Ministry’s advisory includes several points that are also part of the general advisory for viral infections issued by global health organisations such as the WHO. These include:

* Maintaining personal hygiene
* Washing hands often and thoroughly
* Avoiding touching eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands
* Avoiding close contact with people who are sick
* Covering face while coughing or sneezing, and washing hands after coughing or sneezing.

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