Add-on Ayurveda drugs help in optimal immune modulations

‘Integrated treatment results in earlier clearance of virus’

Published - October 03, 2020 12:41 am IST - COIMBATORE

A recently concluded clinical study on the integration of Ayurveda into the management of COVID-19 has found that add-on medication of certain non-patented classical Ayurveda medicines generated the optimal immune system modulations in high-risk patients with diabetes.

The interim analysis of the study found that patients who were under the add-on Ayurveda medication, along with the standard ICMR guideline-driven treatment, exhibited optimal modulation of interleukin 6 (IL6) in reaction to SARS-CoV-2 than those who were under the standard ICMR guideline-driven treatment alone.

IL6 is a cytokine or a category of small proteins that regulates the immune system in the body with its pro-inflammatory and anti-inflammatory properties.

Key biomarker

“The add-on Ayurveda group exhibited IL6 cytokine modulation within seven days of treatment, which is a key biomarker indicating the progress of severity. The integrative care seems to be showing comparative earlier viral clearance. The study also explored the possibility of toxicity due to drug-to-drug interaction, if any, and found that there was no liver and kidney toxicity due to the administration of add-on Ayurveda therapy along with the standard ICMR guideline-driven treatment,” said Somit Kumar, principal investigator of the study.

It was done by AVP Research Foundation, Coimbatore, and Stanley Medical College, Chennai, with funding from the Union Ministry of AYUSH and supported by the Tamil Nadu Health Department.

According to investigators, 51 COVID-19 patients with a history of diabetes completed the clinical study registered in the Clinical Trials Registry of India. While 27 patients went through the add-on Ayurveda treatment along with the ICMR-recommended treatment, 24 patients had standalone ICMR-recommended treatment.

The youngest patient was aged 34 and the oldest 75. The last patient was discharged on August 30.

Improving host response

“The focus of the add-on Ayurveda group was on improving the host response to the SARS-CoV-2 infection, where the treatment would modulate the immune response to act optimal to fight the infection, while at the same time not going haywire to induce a ‘cytokine storm’, which is the major reason for death among patients,” Dr. Kumar said.

“No patient from the add-on Ayurveda group required ICU admission, when one in the standalone treatment group had to be in intensive care. Both groups did not have any casualties,” said Sujith Eranezhath, another investigator.

According to the study team, which included C. Chaitanya, S. Balagopal and Lakshmi Prabha as investigators, the protocol was based on a dozen classical Ayurveda non-patented medicines, including Indukantham kashayam, Bharangyadi kashayam, Drakshadi kashayam and Ashtanga choornam.

“The use of classical Ayurveda medicines for the study was at the insistence of P.R. Krishnakumar, managing director of AVP (Coimbatore) Ltd., who passed away last month. He wanted everyone to use these and it should not be AVP’s exclusivity,” said the investigators.

The study ideated by AVP Research Foundation, in consultation with experts, was carried out under the surveillance of the Ethics Committee of Stanley Medical College. Doctors from Stanley Medical College V. Vinodkumar and C. Sridhar, supported by dean P. Balaji, were also part of the study.

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