Over the last few days, Baba Ramdev and Patanjali Ayurved have repeatedly made headlines for their COVID-19 Immunity Booster Kit and its Coronil tablet. The company claims that it is the first evidence-based medicine to fight COVID-19, with Ramdev releasing a research paper for the same in presence of Union Health Minister Dr Harsh Vardhan and Union Minister Nitin Gadkari on Friday in Delhi.
Now this is not the first time that Coronil has been touted as an antidote of sorts. In June last year, Haridwar-based Patanjali Ayurved had tried to market it as a "clinically tested, evidence-based medicine" that could cure COVID-19. At a time when there were no vaccines to fight against the pandemic, Ramdev had announced the launch of two COVID-19 medicines, Coronil and Swasari. Both of these, he had claimed, had undergone two trials and seen a 100% recovery rate.
The Ayush Ministry had come down heavily on the company, asking it to submit details that would back up its claims (such as research data and the name and composition of the medicines). A month later, sale of Coronil as an immunity booster was permitted. As per reports from the end of October 2020, more than 85 lakh units of Patanjali's COVID-19 kit have been sold.
Now, the product once again finds itself mired in controversy over its recent claim that the Coronil tablet has received certification from the Ayush Ministry as a medicine supporting COVID-19 treatment as per the World Health Organization's certification scheme.
This prompted the WHO to clarify that it has not reviewed or certified the effectiveness of any traditional medicine for the treatment of COVID-19. A Livemint report anonymously quotes an official from the Ayush Ministry that Patanjali’s GMP does not vouch for the efficacy of the drug. The IMA on Monday expressed shock over the "blatant lie of WHO certification" and demanded an explanation from Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan in whose presence the medicine was launched.
Coronil is a tablet that is being sold by Patanjali as a Covid-19 Immunity Booster. As per the company's website a bottle with 80 tablets can be purchased for Rs. 400. It however appears to be out of stock at present. According to reports that quote the Ayush Ministry, it is a prophylactic drug that may boost immunity. As per listings, it contains several natural ingredients including Giloy, Ashwagandha, Tulsi. Swasari Vati: Mulethi, Kakdasinghi and Rudanti.
According to information given on Apollo Hospitals' apollo247.com website, 2-2 Coronil tablets have to be taken with lukewarm water, half an hour before the meal.
While the IMA has come down heavily on Coronil and Patanjali's recent claims, calling it a "falsely fabricated unscientific product" their animosity appears linked to the fact that it is being touted as a COVID-19 cure or deterrent of sorts. "If Coronil is effective for prevention, why Government is spending Rs 35,000 crore for vaccination?" the IMA asked.
And indeed, there is heavy skepticism about Coronil's effectiveness against COVID-19. While the company had backtracked early on, stating that it had never claimed the drug was a cure to coronavirus, many on social media appear to be under the impression that Coronil is an alternative to a COVID-19 vaccine. A few even seem to be under the impression that Coronil is a vaccine.
And while the ingredients within the tablets may well provide an immunity boost, it is by no means safe to rely wholly on a Coronil tablet to keep you safe from COVID-19.
(To receive our E-paper on whatsapp daily, please click here. We permit sharing of the paper's PDF on WhatsApp and other social media platforms.)