Patanjali’s Coronil Covid-19 Ayurvedic Medicine Unleashes a Storm – Quartz India

India’s most famous yoga guru launched an alternative medicine medication for coronavirus, claiming great success during “clinical trials”. What can go wrong?

Much, it seems.

Coronil, a coronavirus treatment kit released by Ramdev, a yoga guru and founder of the Ayurvedic giant Patanjali, was found receiving notification after notification from government departments, a criminal complaint and criticism from the medical community in India.

Coronil launched on June 23 with much aplomb. Ramdev added jargon as “clinically controlled” to his announcement to pay scientific attention to medicine. He also claimed that there was a 100% improvement in the 280 coronavirus patients who were part of the Coronil clinical trial.

The Patanjali kit will hit the shelves in the context of large Indian pharmaceutical companies investing in experimental drugs such as remdisvir and favipiravir, which have been shown to help patients with acute symptoms of Covid-19, but neither claim to cure it. In addition to the various vaccines that are being developed to prevent the coronavirus.

Ayurveda has long held the belief that it is one of the best ancient medical schools, claiming secrets that would make modern medicine seem insignificant. Ramdev has also been an advocate of this belief, often blaming the West for capitalizing on India’s ancient wisdom. He also previously stated that he can cure homosexuality with yoga and offer a drug to women so they can conceive a male child.

But Patanjali, which had an estimated turnover of Rs25,000 crore ($ 3.25 billion) in 2019-2020, was entangled shortly after the launch of Coronil, one that only worsened.

What drug

India has a long tradition of alternative medicine, which is governed by the ministry of Ayurveda, Yoga and Naturopathy, Unani, Siddha, and Homeopathy (Ayush). Any new announcement for traditional medicine must be approved by this ministry.

Shortly after the fanfare that was the Patanjali press conference, Ayush’s ministry asked the company for detailed reports of its clinical trials and the composition of its medication. Patanjali claimed it was a mere lack of communication and sent details of his study to the ministry immediately on June 23.

Through these presentations, other inconsistencies emerged. For example, instead of 280, there were only 100 trial participants. Half of them received placebo medications and five dropped out of the study. In essence, a total of 45 patients with a positive coronavirus received the drug from Patanjali. These studies were also not peer reviewed.

In addition to the questionable number of participants, Coronil was tested only in patients with mild to moderate symptoms, and those with any comorbidity were excluded. Their miraculous claims also decreased when the presentations revealed that while 69% of Covid-19 patients tested negative on the third day of treatment, 50% of those who received placebo medications tested negative at the same time.

The soup thickens

The second embarrassment for Patanjali came in the form of a notice that the Ayush department of Uttarakhand state sent to the company. The department said that Patanjali had only submitted requests for drugs to boost immunity and did not mention Covid-19.

All this disaster reveals the unknown territory of clinical trials for traditional medicine. Doctors and health activists have been wondering how a drug like Coronil can be launched without any control. For example, Dinesh Thakur, a public health activist and whistleblower, said simply registering with the Clinical Trials Registry-India (CTRI) is not enough. Drugs in India are controlled by the Central Drug Control Organization, which also finds no mention in the Patanjali findings.

There are also discrepancies in the Coronil app with CTRI. For example, the proper protocol for a randomized controlled trial is completely missing.

Now, a criminal complaint against Patanjali has been filed in a court in Bihar state against Ramdev and Patanjali managing director Balkrishna. The petitioner alleged that Ramdev and his company deceived the people and endangered their lives.