Coronavirus in Maharashtra: Here's what we know about the state govt's go-ahead to use AYUSH medicines to treat COVID-19
Bhushan Koyande

Amid the rising Covid-19 cases in Maharashtra, on Monday, the state government approved the formation of a task force which would recommend incorporation of AYUSH treatment for coronavirus patients.

Soon, homoeopathy, Ayurvedic and Unani medicines will be used to improve immunity against coronavirus and also to treat asymptomatic and mildly symptomatic patients.

Last week, the state government had set up an AYUSH task force to look at the way forward, using alternative medicine therapies, as there is an urgent need to control the growing number of cases.

Dr T P Lahane, head, Directorate of Medical Education and Research (DMER), who heads the state's AYUSH task force said guidelines would be issued after a meeting of its members. “Clinical trials will be conducted on patients and once we have clarity on the line of treatment, we shall move forward a plan which tackles prevention, as also a cure," he said.

Meanwhile, the AYUSH ministry and the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) are working together on validating four AYUSH formulations against Covid-19.

"Coronavirus has wreaked havoc; it is important to increase people's immunity. Also people who are asymptomatic and mildly symptomatic are being treated using therapies prescribed by AYUSH doctors in states like Gujarat, Punjab, Madhya Pradesh, Kerala and Goa successfully," said the GR. The state has also received directives from AYUSH in the form of advisories

Dr Kuldeep Kohli, director of Maharashtra AYUSH and a member of the AYUSH Task Force for Corona, said at a meeting last week it was decided what medicines should be used and how it should be administered to the patient, based on their condition. “As per the guidelines of the Union Ministry of AYUSH, we have designed different treatments for different patients of corona. Under this, patients will be given Ashwagandha, Yashtimadhu (Mulethi), Guduchi + Pippali (Giloy) and AYUSH-64, which was invented for the treatment of malaria and it is being repurposed,” he said.

“Our exposure to viruses is more common than in the West. Turmeric, ginger, amla, lemon, and honey are anti-bacterials we consume on a daily basis from a young age. We are studying the link between Covid recovery, the consumption of these foods and immunity-building,” Dr Kohli added.

Other members of the task force include Dr Jaswant Patil, an allopathic pulmonologist and homoeopath, Dr Jawahar Shah, a homoeopath, Ayurveda practitioners Drs Harish Singh and Uday Kulkarni, and Unani practitioner Dr Zubair Sheikh.

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