The AYUSH Ministry on January 29 issued an advisory and recommended that homeopathic and unani medicine could be effective in the prevention of novel coronavirus (nCoV) infections which claimed over 100 lives in China.
It also mentioned some Ayurvedic practices which can help recess the symptoms of respiratory tract in possible coronavirus infected cases.
"The Ministry of AYUSH is issuing the advisory as preventive measure and not claiming to be a treatment advice for the nCoV infection. The Research Councils under Ministry of AYUSH are involved in various public health activities and provide lifestyle advocacies time to time for the general public," the ministry said in a statement.
On Tuesday, the scientific advisory board of the Central Council for Research in Homoeopathy (CCRH), under the Ministry of AYUSH, discussed ways to prevent the nCoV infection through homoeopathy.
It recommended that homoeopathic medicine Arsenicum album 30 could be taken empty stomach daily for three days as a preventive medicine against the infection.
Frequently Asked Questions
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.
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.
Vaccine development is a long, complex process. Unlike drugs that are given to people with a diseased, vaccines are given to healthy people and also vulnerable sections such as children, pregnant women and the elderly. So rigorous tests are compulsory. History says that the fastest time it took to develop a vaccine is five years, but it usually takes double or sometimes triple that time.
The dose should be repeated after one month in case the nCoV infection prevails in the community, the advisory said, adding that the same has also been advised for prevention of influenza-like illness.
It also suggests some Ayurvedic practices and medicines, Unani drug decoctions and home remedies which can be useful in prevention of nCoV infection.
The advisory suggests general hygienic measures for prevention of air-borne infections such as washing hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, avoiding touching eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands, and avoiding close contact with people who are sick.
The ministry has advised covering face while coughing or sneezing and preferably using an N95 mask while travelling or working in public places to avoid droplet transmissions.
"If you suspect Corona Viral infection, wear a mask and contact your nearest hospital immediately," the advisory said.
It also recommended prophylactic measures/immunomodulatory drugs as per Ayurvedic practices and taking measures to strengthen the immune system through a healthy diet and lifestyle practices.
Novel coronavirus (nCoV) is a large family of viruses that causes illnesses ranging from common cold to acute respiratory syndromes. The virus has killed 132 people and affected at least 6,000 in China and is a novel strain not seen before.
It has emerged from a seafood and animal market in Wuhan city and is suspected to have spread as far as the United States.
In India, many people are under observation in hospitals for suspected coronavirus infection, including in Maharashtra, Goa, Odisha and the national capital. People returning to the country after visiting China are being regularly screened for the deadly virus at airports across the country.According to the World Health Organisation, the common symptoms of the novel coronavirus strain include respiratory symptoms such as fever, cough, shortness of breath and breathing difficulties.