The Breakthrough Science Society expresses shock and anguish that the Press Information Bureau (PIB), Government of India has released a statement recommending members of the public to use untested Ayurveda, Homoeopathy and Unani medicines to prevent and treat the illnesses caused by Coronavirus . Even as the World Health Organisation (WHO) has only advised the public to stick to basic preventive measures like avoiding contact with people suffering from cold, washing hands, staying away from crowded places, farm or wild animals etc, Indian government after giving similar hygiene recommendations has also advised people to take to ayurvedic practices, homoeopathic drugs and Unani medicines . A homeopathic drug namely Arsenicum album30, or Unani medicines like Sharbat Unnab or Ayurvedic preparations like Shadang Paniya are advised to be taken either as preventive medicines or for symptomatic management against Coronavirus infections. But there are no supporting evidence that these medicines are effective against the virus. How are
these drugs even relevant in the fight against novel Coronavirus (2019-nCov), which is itself a new organism is not clear. In the absence of proper studies on the effectiveness of these medicines the government advisory on Coronavirus is irresponsible, misleading, dangerous to the public health and against medical ethics.
The Coronavirus (2019-nCoV) has already claimed 132 lives. It has affected over a dozen of countries. According to the Health Ministry, 9150 passengers have been screened for the Coronavirus. Health ministry has asked travellers from China to report to the nearest health facility in case they do not feel well. It is essential to take adequate preventive measures against Coronavirus and issue proper advisories to the people. We expect that these advisories should go through scientific validation before being publicly communicated.
Dhruba Mukhopadhyay (President), Soumitro Banerjee (General Secretary)