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EDITORIAL
Year : 2020  |  Volume : 14  |  Issue : 4  |  Page : 8-10

COVID-19 – Ministry of AYUSH and national institute of Ayurveda


Director, National Institute of Ayurveda, Deemed to be University (De - novo), Jaipur, Rajasthan, India

Date of Submission20-Jul-2020
Date of Decision02-Nov-2020
Date of Acceptance04-Nov-2020
Date of Web Publication28-Dec-2020

Correspondence Address:
Sanjeev Sharma
National Institute of Ayurveda, Deemed to be University (De - novo), Jaipur, Rajasthan
India
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None


DOI: 10.4103/joa.joa_272_20

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How to cite this article:
Sharma S. COVID-19 – Ministry of AYUSH and national institute of Ayurveda. J Ayurveda 2020;14:8-10

How to cite this URL:
Sharma S. COVID-19 – Ministry of AYUSH and national institute of Ayurveda. J Ayurveda [serial online] 2020 [cited 2021 Jan 17];14:8-10. Available from: http://www.journayu.in/text.asp?2020/14/4/8/304913



Coronavirus (CoV) and coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) have blown into every mind throughout the world. It is a pandemic and has shown its presence in almost all countries and territories. The whole of humanity has been shaken by this deadly virus, and it has put human into test tube. A small virus has exploded like an atomic bomb and so many latent weaknesses of human, society, and nations have been revealed. Interestingly, no country or territory could escape and proved that none of the countries was prepared for this kind of crisis. It has compelled the world to re-think how to combat and get prepared for such kind of situation. Novel CoV showed its first presence in December 2019. On December 12, 2019, the first-ever case of chronic respiratory disease was reported in Wuhan city of Hubei province of China. China on December 31 reported and alerted the WHO about the cases of pneumonia of unknown etiology. On January 7, 2020, the novel CoV was identified for the first time. On January 12, 2020, the first death due to CoV was reported in Wuhan (China). On January 30, 2020, India noticed the first case of novel CoV and coincidentally on the same day, the WHO declared the public health emergency of international concern. On February 11, 2020, the virus was named severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS)-CoV-2 and the disease was named COVID-19. On February 28, 2020, the WHO declared it as very high risk at the regional and global level. On March 11, 2020, the WHO declared it as a pandemic. Since then, the global toll is continuously rising including India. However, by the timely proactive action of the Indian government and with the cooperation of every citizen of the country, India successfully has contained the crisis, but still, there is a long way to go. Transmission of this virus is from human to human or from surface to human by direct contact or through infected droplets and aerosols. Infectivity of this virus is very high, however the mortality and morbidity are comparatively less. Better ways to prevent this infection are maintaining physical distancing, following proper hand hygiene and coughing etiquettes, and covering the face. The Indian government took timely measures by sensitizing the public about the virus and by forcing four consecutive lockdowns beginning from March 25, 2020, to May 30, 2020. However, due to the countrywide consecutive lockdowns, challenges such as economic crisis, social crisis, human right crisis, and psychological crisis had also emerged. In every citizen's mind, a sense of insecurity was prevailing and there were few questions such as when the crisis will end, how it will end, what will be its impact, and how long will be the impact?

Charles Rosenberg, a great medical historian, had said that all the epidemics are like events which originate at a particular point of time, draw a plotline, go to the peak, and then decline to end at a moment. This statement gives a ray of hope and shows us light through the dark path of a pandemic. It gives us confidence that the present pandemic will definitely come to an end. However, we wish that it should end early and the aim should be to attain the precorona era. To come out of this crisis successfully, early, and effectively, we have to build a more resilient, sustainable, and inclusive society and nation. While thinking about coming out of this critical period, we have to learn the lessons and keep those lessons and experiences in our mind to prevent and be ready to combat such problems.

If we analyze the whole scenario of COVID-19 or any other infectious disease, we find the triad of infection, that is, the organism, the environment, and the host. To prevent the infection, we should focus on all these three factors. Infective organisms are present everywhere all the times, so we cannot destroy or kill them by any means. However, few organisms can be destroyed in the body by anti-microbial or antiviral drugs. Some infections can be controlled or prevented by active immunity like using the vaccines. The whole world is trying to nail the CoV (organism) by inventing vaccines or anti-viral drugs. So far, as the environment is concerned, it includes the environment around us and mode of transmission as well. Environmental factors are being controlled and mode of transmission is being checked by various measures such as social distancing, hand hygiene, and coughing etiquettes. However, the 3rd and the important part of the triad is the host which somewhere is not in the main focus of the medical fraternity and also of the researchers. Although we are trying to protect the host from the virus by not coming into the contact with the virus, yet the infection is at such a large extent and is at community level; then, for an individual, it is very difficult to protect himself/herself from the exposure to this virus. Hence, it becomes very essential that the host who is trying to protect himself/herself from the virus should have some good arrangement within his/her body to keep the infection away. It is next to impossible to eliminate the bacteria or viruses or other organisms from the environment. For that, the immune system of a person should be good enough to combat the disease and at the same time, it should be regulated. There must be the homeostasis of the immune system. We know that our body is a hybrid of our own cells and other organisms on the surface or within the body. From the invisible strands of fungi waiting to sprout between our toes, to the kilogram of bacterial matter in our guts, we are best viewed as walking “superorganisms,” highly complex conglomerations of human cells, bacteria, fungi, and viruses. According to some scientists, the number of viruses, bacteria, and other organisms present in our body is much higher than the number of total cells in our body. Moreover, this environment in which we are living is full of organisms and a pinch of dust taken may have the total population of such organisms, more than the population of the whole world. Hence, practically, it is very difficult and or may be impossible to get anti-organism drugs or vaccines available for the population of the whole of the world. If we analyze the epidemics or pandemics which we have witnessed since the last few decades, we shall be able to analyze that every time new viruses with mutations are coming out and causing such crisis. It is beneficial to have a vaccine and also anti-viral or anti-organism drugs. However, the best way is to make the host so strong that these organisms should fail to infect a person. If at some point of time, the organism succeeds to infect host, there should be the least morbidity and no mortality.

Hence, the host is a very important factor and if he/she is having immunity to check the disease organism, then disease may not occur or its severity will be very less. The immune system should be made not only strong but also regulated. Coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2) after getting into the body binds with the cell wall and invades into the cell. Within the cell, it hijacks the full system of the cell and replicates there, resulting in cell death. After the death, the cell bursts and multiple viruses come out which further attack the multiple cells in the same fashion and disease starts increasing and disseminating toward the lower respiratory tract. Ultimately, it reaches the alveoli of the lungs where a cytokine storm is initiated as a result of the overzealous immune response. This shows that at the one end (entry portal) poor immunity is responsible for the viral disease and at the other end the overwhelming immune response in lungs is noticed. To combat this disease, a balanced and regulated immunity is required or we can say homeostasis of the immune system is required. Ayurveda, the science of life, talks about the host and advocates the principles of maintaining the health of an individual. Ayurveda believes in a personalized holistic approach for promoting health and immunity.

If we see the present scenario of COVID-19 crisis, till now, there is no vaccine available to prevent the infection or no medicine is available to treat the disease. The present protocols of treatment or prophylaxis such as hydroxychloroquinine or some antibiotic such as azithromycin lack evidence. In such a conditions, Ayurveda can play a major role in the prevention of the disease or even in the management of uncomplicated cases concerned. There is a wide range of measures available in Ayurveda which can be used to prevent or cure COVID-19-positive patients. These measures can be used as per Ayurveda principles such as Dosha (Vata, Pitta, and Kapha), Dhatu, Mala, Prakriti, Desha, and Kala. Keeping all these factors in mind, the Ministry of AYUSH, Government of India, has released advisory for the general public and has initiated so many research trials on preventive as well as therapeutic aspects.

CORONA crisis is a critical period and during this time, many such events happened which highlighted Ayurveda and Ayurvedic measures not only in India but also at the international level. The top leadership of the country had a special discussion with Ayurveda stalwarts to roll AYUSH systems of medicine in general and Ayurveda in particular to find measure/s for the prevention or treatment of this disease. The Prime Minister (PM) of India Mr. N. Modi in his address to the nation stressed upon the use of immune-boosting measures of ancient Indian systems of medicine for the prevention of CORONA infection. In fact, this was a big breakthrough for these systems and it carried the message deep to the grass-root level not only in the country but at the international level as well. Interestingly, just after the statement of PM, the website of the Ministry of AYUSH got crashed due to millions of hits. The Ministry of AYUSH under the able leadership of Minister Shri Shripad Yesso Naik and dynamic execution by the Secretary of AYUSH Padmashree Vaidya Rajesh Kotecha carried the message of PM to the reality level. This revolutionized and mainstreamed the AYUSH systems, and a nationwide demand and use of these measures suddenly went up to unimaginable heights. Export and demand for certain Ayurveda herbs and prepared drugs increased manifold. The AYUSH Ministry became the central point of Government of India during this crisis. This resulted in the massive use of immune booster herbs and herbal preparations, and nationwide population-based prophylactic studies and clinical trials on COVID-19-positive patients started.

The National Institute of Ayurveda (NIA) at Jaipur also took a proactive multipronged approach during this pandemic. The NIA developed an immune booster kit comprising Chyawanprash (a polyherbal Ayurvedic formulation), NIA immune booster capsules (comprising Laxmivilas rasa, Rasa manikya, Balsudha, Godanti bhasma, Shuddh sphatika, Pushkar mool, Sitopaladi choorna, Madhuyashti choorana, and Haridra choorna), and immune booster decoction (Giloya, Nagarmotha, Pittapada, Triphala, Raktachandana, Tulsi, Chirayata, Mulethi, Kutaja twak, Haridra, Bhumyamalaki, and Vasa). It was planned to distribute these kits to high-risk group population such as police officials and officers, health workers, security guards, swachhata sainik (workforce involved in cleaning), and subjects in the containment zones of Jaipur. Another project which NIA initiated is a prophylaxis study on Chyawanprash. A large population-based study on Guduchi Ghan Vati has also been rolled down with the targeted sample size of 6000 patients in each arm of two-arm study, that is, a total of 12,000 patients. A very important clinical trial on COVID-19-positive patients has also been finalized on AYUSH 64 tablets as an add-on therapy. This study is being carried out in collaboration with All India Institute of Medical Sciences, Jodhpur (Rajasthan).

We hope and wish that with the active and positive approach of the Ministry of AYUSH and each of the AYUSH component, we can flatten the corona curve and serve humanity.






 

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