In an email interview, Ayush secretary Vaidya Rajesh Kotecha spoke about the role Indian system of medicine has been playing during the pandemic.
How many studies/clinical trials have been conducted?
System-wise studies include 61 studies of ayurveda, 26 studies of homeopathy, 12 studies of siddha, 8 unani and 13 of yoga and naturopathy. Interim trends have shown promising outcomes in mitigation of COVID-19.
A total of 40 manuscripts related to COVID-19 studies have been prepared.
Many hospitals have treated Covid patients?
The All India Institute of Ayurveda conducted a clinical project/study in which ayurvedic medicines has been administered to improve immunity of 80,000 Delhi Police personnel. Outcome/result of the study is encouraging.
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Initiatives to encourage research work in traditional medicine system in India?
Generating tangible evidence is of utmost importance to develop confidence among global and national scientific community. Our research councils and national institutes are working relentlessly toward the same. They have published their vision document with a long-term and short-term goal for the next five years and ten years, focusing on non-communicable disease and disease areas of national importance.
What are the challenges in developing traditional medicine?
Health is a complex subject, our understanding toward it is still evolving, what was gold standard a decade ago may not be relevant today, hence there cannot be an answer to developing on line of modern medicine.
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There are various other challenges in terms of study design for traditional medicine, which can hinder a study’s quality by keeping the cofounding factors and biases to the minimum and making it a reproducible study. Some examples are the quality of raw herbs from which the medicine is made, quality of soil, the season they are collected, geographical area and how it is made etc.
Randomised controlled trials (RCTs), considered gold standard for doing clinical research, have certain limitations to the frame of traditional medicine as traditional medicines consider multiple variables and frames of reference to measure the clinical outcome. International peer-reviewed journals in traditional medicines like ayurveda are also limited.