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COVID-19 vaccine | Patanjali’s Coronil GMP certification doesn’t guarantee efficacy in coronavirus cure: Centre

Baba Ramdev-promoted company launched the medicine at an event where Dr Harsh Vardhan and Nitin Gadkari were present. WHO issued a clarification stating that no traditional medicine for COVID-19 had been reviewed or certified.

February 22, 2021 / 09:27 PM IST
Representative image of a store in Ahmedabad, India selling Patanjali Ayurved products. (Image: Reuters/Amit Dave)

Representative image of a store in Ahmedabad, India selling Patanjali Ayurved products. (Image: Reuters/Amit Dave)

After Indian Medical Association (IMA) demanded explanation from the Union Health Minister Dr Harsh Vardhan for promoting Patanjali's Coronil in the treatment of COVID-19, Ayush Ministry on February 22 stated that Patanjali's GMP certificate doesn’t vouch for the efficacy of the drug in any disease condition.

"Patanjali has only a GMP certificate from the apex drug regulator-- Drug Controller General of India (DCGI) and a manufacturing license from Uttarakhand state government as a prophylactic drug," LiveMint reported quoting AYUSH ministry senior official.

IMA demands explanation over Health Minister Dr Harsh Vardhan's endorsement of Patanjali's Coronil

The official clarified that Good Manufacturing Practice (GMP) certificate does not amount to a guarantee if a medicine in question is for prevention or treatment of COVID-19. Further, the official said that the medicine may be useful in boosting immunity, but the central ministry doesn’t endorse it as a cure for the disease.

"Any country importing any AYUSH product does its quality tests before importing it. There are separate departments that will ensure the quality of drug if it is fit for export," the business daily reported quoting the official. The Ministry had categorised ayurvedic Coronil tablets as an 'Immuno-booster' earlier.

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A vaccine works by mimicking a natural infection. A vaccine not only induces immune response to protect people from any future COVID-19 infection, but also helps quickly build herd immunity to put an end to the pandemic. Herd immunity occurs when a sufficient percentage of a population becomes immune to a disease, making the spread of disease from person to person unlikely. The good news is that SARS-CoV-2 virus has been fairly stable, which increases the viability of a vaccine.

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There are broadly four types of vaccine — one, a vaccine based on the whole virus (this could be either inactivated, or an attenuated [weakened] virus vaccine); two, a non-replicating viral vector vaccine that uses a benign virus as vector that carries the antigen of SARS-CoV; three, nucleic-acid vaccines that have genetic material like DNA and RNA of antigens like spike protein given to a person, helping human cells decode genetic material and produce the vaccine; and four, protein subunit vaccine wherein the recombinant proteins of SARS-COV-2 along with an adjuvant (booster) is given as a vaccine.

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The whole controversy began on Friday when Baba Ramdev-promoted company launched the medicine at an event where Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan and Transport Minister Nitin Gadkari were present.

Following the event, World Health Organisation (WHO) issued a clarification stating that no traditional medicine for COVID-19 had been reviewed or certified.

"WHO has not reviewed or certified the effectiveness of any traditional medicine for the treatment COVID-19," WHO South-East Asia said in a tweet.

After this, Patanjali Ayurved Managing Director Acharya Balkrishna issued a clarification that their WHO GMP compliant Certificate of Pharmaceutical Product (CoPP) certificate to Coronil is issued by DCGI, Government of India.

However, on Monday, IMA sought explanation from Dr Harsh Vardhan on why he was found promoting Patanjali's Coronil. “Being a Health Minister of the country, how justified is it to release such falsely fabricated unscientific product to people of the whole country and how ethical was it to promote the product in unethical, wrong and false ways,” The Indian Express quoted IMA national president Dr Jayalal as saying.

The IMA will also be writing to the National Medical Commission over the blatant disregard of the Medical Council of India’s code of conduct, the report said.
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