Fact Check: Patanjali’s Coronil, To Use or Not to Use?

Fact Check: Patanjali’s Coronil, To Use or Not to Use?

Patanjali recently released a timeline of research work supporting Coronil’s efficacy in Covid-19 treatment. WHO’s South Asia division later clarified that it is not reviewed or certified. Let’s see what’s the deal with this Ayurvedic medicine since its launch last year.

Crux of the Matter

What Is Patanjali Ayurved?
Started by Ramdev and Balkrishna in 2006, it is an Indian consumer goods company, that manufactures mineral and herbal products.

Ayurvedic Medicine Against Covid-19?
Patanjali launched the Coronil kit last year, which consisted of tablets called Coronil and Swasari Vati, and an Anu Oil. 

Lack Of Scientific Evidence?
In June 2020, Ramdev claimed that Coronil cured 19 Covid patients. But, the Indian Govt said it was only an immunity booster. Consequently, lawsuits were filed in Bihar and Rajasthan against Ramdev, Balkrishna, and others, for selling fake medicines.

WHO VS. Patanjali
19 Feb 2021: Ramdev released a research paper by Patanjali Research Institute and said “Coronil will benefit 158 countries globally.”

Shortly thereafter, WHO South Asia tweeted:

Patanjali tweeted as a clarification.

What’s More?
The Madras High Court even fined Patanjali ₹10,00,000. The UK drug regulator threatened action if the products were found in their market. Patanjali then withdrew the claim of Coronil being a cure for Covid-19. 

Good Reception Despite Controversies?

“Coronil received a huge response despite all controversies. We have data which suggests that more than 1 crore people have consumed it”

Ramdev

Patanjali spokesperson S K Tijarawala said Coronil has done a business of ₹500 crores in the last 7 months.

Curiopedia
  • Patanjali Yogpeeth is an institute founded for the promotion and practice of Yoga and Ayurveda. It has two Indian campuses, Patanjali Yogpeeth I and Patanjali Yogpeeth II in Haridwar, Uttarakhand. Other locations include the UK, US, Nepal, Canada and Mauritius. Ramdev is the Vice-Chancellor of the Patanjali Yogapeeth.
  • Swami Ramdev – Ek Sangharsh is an Indian biopic television series based on the life of Baba Ramdev. It premiered on 12 February 2018 on Discovery Jeet. The show launched on Netflix with the title Swami Baba Ramdev: The Untold Story.

BCG v/s COVID-19: Can Old Friend Beat New Foe?

A preliminary study was posted on medRxiv, an online archive for unpublished medical research and pre-print articles, that regarded TB/BCG vaccine as a potential answer to the COVID-19 ridden world. Subsequently researchers all over the world have started providing additional data inputs on the same, with WHO issuing a public advisory to keep the clueless public in sync with them. So before the clinical development of a new vaccine for COVID-19 is successful, can BCG help us in reducing the symptoms, if not be the ultimate cure, in the meantime?
Complete Coverage: Coronavirus

Crux of the Matter

What’s all the hype about?
Since more than 3 billion people have been its recipients in the past century, Bacillus Calmette-Guerin (BCG) vaccine is the world’s most used vaccine & is cheap and safe to be used for protection against respiratory infections and child morbidity and mortality.

Tuberculosis (TB) and COVID-19 may be two very different respiratory diseases wherein the former is caused by a type of bacteria (Mycobacterium Tuberculosis) and the latter is caused by a virus strain (SARS-CoV-2). However, the new epidemiological study has discovered a probable correlation between countries where it is mandatory to be vaccinated against the lung-damaging TB or BCG, and the impact of COVID-19.

Source: CDC, A Database of Global BCG Vaccination Policies and practices

Gonzalo Otazu, one of the study’s authors said how the team became curious to know why countries like South Korea having lenient social isolation policies were faring better in the fight against COVID-19 than ones like Italy, USA and Netherlands who had taken more stringent containment measures. As they dug deeper, it was found that the former had a universal tuberculosis vaccination policy while the latter had none.

Stating timing as an important factor, the scientists contrasted two countries that have applied universal BCG vaccination, Japan to Iran, but at different periods of time. Japanese policy was placed in 1947 and it has about 100 fewer deaths per million inhabitants than Iran, whose policy got activated later in 1984. Similarly China, where this 21st century pandemic began, has a BCG vaccine policy but it wasn’t adhered to strictly before 1976. 

Global Race for framing the perfect trials
Without further ado, countries around the globe have started off their respective probes and forming hypotheses. Australia plans to test the BCG vaccine on a larger scale to protect it’s healthcare staff and 4000+ workers would participate in this trial named BRACE, as per Murdoch Institute in Melbourne. Denise Faustman, director of immunobiology at Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston has been studying BCG for years as a therapy for type 1 diabetes. She wants to seek institutional permission to mount a trial at Boston’s Brigham and Women’s Hospital.

According to Rakesh Mishra, director of the Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology (CCMB) in the nation with the largest manufacturing capacity of BCG, India, isolation and quarantine work the best against COVID-19 as of now.

BCG and Coronavirus: When a bacterium and virus meet
Dr. Randy Cron of University of Alabama, Birmingham says BCG is a live-attenuated vaccine, containing live but weakened TB. This is called an adaptive immune response that provokes the body to develop antibodies to attack the specific pathogen after encountering it.

The only catch being, that it would be risky to administer it to hospitalized COVID-19 patients as they would have a compromised immune system or a system that simply overreacts to the  SARS -CoV-2 virus, causing a deadly effect called cytokine storm. Cytokines are small proteins released by many different cells in the body that coordinate the body’s response against infection and trigger inflammation. But when more than required immune cells are activated, it results in hyperinflammation.

The unlikely allies in causing destruction

Glitches in this medical fairytale
The current number of coronavirus cases is dramatically underestimated around the world due to shortages of diagnostic tests. It is even likely that under-funded health systems have low COVID-19 testing capacity, but happen to have universal BCG vaccination policies still in place, given that TB burden is highest in such places.

Then there exist countries with varying underlying demographic characteristics, such as differences in the age distribution of the populations of interest. South-East Asia and Africa have a median age of 27.0 and 18.7 years while Europe has a median age of 38.6 years, which is integral data to be considered for COVID-19 whose severity increases with age.

What Doctor WHO says
The WHO (World Health Organization) has coldly stated how there is no solid evidence that the BCG vaccine can help in COVID-19 prevention and thus wouldn’t recommend it. It was quoted as saying “Studies like the Johns Hopkins one, are prone to significant bias from many confounders, including differences in national demographics and disease burden, testing rates for COVID-19 virus infections, and the stage of the pandemic in each country.”

Currently two clinical trials are underway and it will evaluate the evidence when it is available.

BCG may help in the fight against COVID-19 after all, but only well conducted, randomized and controlled clinical trials can answer this question.

Mike Frick, Project Co-director, Treatment Action Group

In the meantime, epidemiologists and doctors can provide the medical facts while communities can provide the contextual details of what has worked for them in the past in surveys conducted by the local governments.

Curiopedia
  • Bacillus Calmette–Guérin (BCG) vaccine is a vaccine primarily used against tuberculosis. In countries where tuberculosis is common, one dose is recommended in healthy babies as close to the time of birth as possible.
  • The BCG vaccine took almost 13 years to develop. When Albert Calmette, a French physician and bacteriologist, and his assistant and later colleague, Camille Guérin, a veterinarian, were not able to cause tuberculosis disease in research animals, they came to the conclusion that they had isolated the BCG Strain from virulent strain on glycerine potato medium after subculturing it 239 times (in 13 years).
  • As of 2006, only a few countries do not use BCG for routine vaccination. Two countries that have never used it routinely are the United States and the Netherlands.
  • In the summer of 1930 in Lübeck, 240 infants were vaccinated with BCG in the first 10 days of life; almost all developed tuberculosis and 72 infants died. It was subsequently discovered that the BCG administered there had been contaminated with a virulent strain that was being stored in the same incubator, which led to legal action against the manufacturers of the vaccine.

Trump’s White House Down to COVID-19

After months of staying in denial over the Coronavirus situation in the US and silently renegotiating ‘his’ debts with ‘his’ bankers President Donald Trump has finally accepted the harsh reality out loud – that all is not okay with the States as it nears half a million COVID-19 cases. The question now on every betrayed American’s mind is – You got us in it, how are you planning to take us out of it?
Complete Coverage: Coronavirus

Crux of the Matter

How Hard Have They Been Hit?
US recorded its highest single-day coronavirus death on Tuesday this week, with more than 1,800 fatalities in 24 hours as per data released by Johns Hopkins University, Maryland. As New York becomes the leading hotspot of 4755 deaths, the graphs below give you the fitting visuals of the horror that follows in California, New Jersey, and Michigan.

Johns Hopkins CSSE notes that they rely upon publicly available data from multiple sources, with US
accounting for one-quarter of global COVID-19 deaths

An all-time high for US coronavirus cases, in the past 5 days

New memos have revealed how Trump had been warned fairly in advance by his White House advisors, about the impending doom of COVID-19 standing at their doorstep, that could derail the economy instantly while killing thousands of Americans in the process. Senior scientists, epidemiologists and health emergency experts across the nation continued to raise their voices, while all fell to their president’s deaf ears.

Grim reality of the States tells us how little they learnt from Wuhan and Italy

WHO Blew it or Trump?
In an official press conference, Trump lashed back at the World Health Organisation (WHO) by calling them Chinese-centric in this whole COVID-19 fight-back and giving out bad advice to the leftover, clueless international public. He went on to threaten WHO by halting funding to the global health agency if the need arises.

WHO chief Dr. Tedros Adhanom on the other hand defended his agency’s handling of the pandemic and requested leaders globally to keep faith in them. They added that with ‘honest leadership’ from both China and the US, focus can be shifted back to the main agenda – saving more lives

Summachar’s Coverage: What did WHO do?

War of PPE Begins, Help Thy Neighbours No More
Developing countries are worried seeing US’s self preservation tactics of hijacking shipments of PPE (Personal Protective Equipments) and additional crucial supplies, like ‘diverting’ 200,000 face masks back to the States, before ‘letting’ the rest of the order arrive in Berlin, Germany

It is a national disgrace that our health care workers still don’t have the protective equipment they need. Donald Trump needs to fully use the power of DFA.

Joe Biden, Former Vice President of the USA

Then in an ironic role reversal case of a superpower and the ones that need its help, Trump announced earlier this week that he was invoking the DFA (Defense Production Act) to restrict U.S. exports of key medical gear like gloves & gowns. This, in turn, allowed him to direct companies like 3M to prioritise the national demand of N95 masks by health workers and angered the mask manufacturer’s hopeful international recipients, Canada and Latin America.

‘Yes you can!’: Trump Makes India Lift HCQ Ban
Trump had repeatedly endorsed HCQ (Hydroxychloroquine) as a possible cure for COVID-19. The efficacy of HCQ for COVID-19 is being debated currently, with some anecdotal evidence of positive results from Chin, South Korea and India, although substantial clinical studies to back this hypothesis are pending. One of the world’s largest manufacturers of this anti-malarial drug India decided to ban its export to first meet the domestic demand, and this did not go down well with the President. 

After a phone call exchange between him and India’s PM Narendra Modi and a subsequent news briefing, a retaliation was hinted in case the latter does not implement his ‘request’. Subsequently, Indian authorities lifted the ban on HCQ, paracetamol and 24 other drugs & ingredients, confirming they had a manageable medical stock.

Unemployment Written on the American Cards
Even with millions forced out of work in the US, there was a promising silver lining in the form of CARES Act (Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act). Signed into law on March 27, its benefits claimed to be extended to gig workers, part-time employees, and the self-employed. Sadly, the authorities are yet to update their systems to account for the PUA (pandemic unemployment assistance) and 2.4 million Californians have applied for unemployment to date.

Michele Evermore, a senior policy analyst at the National Employment Law Project, says, even so, these budgets are based on the previous year’s state unemployment rate, making them foolishly base this huge economic crisis on the lowest unemployment rate in history. In the meantime, Social Security Administration says it has been ‘trying it’s best’ to work with the Treasury to ensure citizens, including those with limited internet availability and the elderly /disabled, get their stimulus payouts on time.

US meal line

Enough of the Blame Game, We Need a Solid Plan
With denials past us, it’s safe to assume that we all lie on the same page now – Unified Preparedness in a global fight against COVID-19. With federal guidelines being followed at the local and state level, worldwide authorities now have to tackle the lack of availability of widespread testing mechanisms. If countries cannot stop the virus from spreading further, it becomes more likely to re-emerge. 

There can be enough for all, only if we are ready to share. Only If we don’t let this virus scratch on our past wounds and differences with each other. With social media connecting giving us all the minute by minute updates and individuals and communities working on crowd-sourcing solutions, there is still hope to win this invisible battle together. 

Curiopedia
  • Out of 4,34,791 cases in the USA, 1,49,316 are from New York state.
  • Out of 50 states, 8 of them have still not declared statewide lockdown.
  • Initial Epicentre of COVID-19 was China, which then shifted to Europe when WHO declared it as the epicentre on 13th March. Two weeks later, an announcement was made that the USA might become the next epicentre if corrective measures will not be implemented.

Behind Every Mask, Lies the Potential to Survive COVID-19

Old research supported by Nobel prize-winning virologist Harold Varmus has resurfaced online, which clearly states that placing a layer of cloth in front of a person’s face stops 99% of infection droplets. Following which the reputed journal Nature recently discovered that a simple non-fitted mask blocked 99.9% of Coronavirus droplets and aerosol. But are key leaders across the globe willing to take up what science has to offer? Do we see masks as a portable preparedness measure for our fight against COVID-19?
Complete Coverage: Coronavirus

Crux of the Matter

Show Us What You Have Got!
There are three major types of masks available in the market currently to combat Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 or SARS-CoV-2. Commonly known as COVID-19, it spreads from person to person and recently discovered, human to animals via the main transmission route of small respiratory droplets.

1. Surgical Masks are disposable and loose-fitting two or three-layered face masks that provide coverage to nose, mouth, and chin. They prevent the spread of potentially infectious respiratory secretions like large-particle droplets, from the wearer to others and vice versa. On the flip side, air leakage can occur through the sides of the mask during normal inhalation.

2. N95 respirator is a well-fitted face mask. Besides providing 50% more protection against splashes, sprays, and large droplets than it’s counterparts, this respirator can also filter out 95% of tiny particles like viruses and bacteria. Being the most effective of the lot, it may provide the right sense of security to every individual at risk of contracting COVID-19. However, they are least readily available as well, making them the first priority of healthcare workers and first respondents to date.

3. Homemade cloth face mask – The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has recommended the usage of these face masks, in case of the absence of the aforementioned two. In addition to proper hygiene practices, they are especially helpful in preventing transfer of SARS-CoV-2 from asymptomatic people in public places, where it’s difficult to maintain the required 6-foot social distance from others. Additionally, there would never be a dearth of the material required to weave it and would be easy for the common public to make it.

For India, By India: Says the Govt
After declaring face masks and hand sanitisers as essential commodities for the next 100 days up to June 30, 2020, under the Essential Commodities Act, 1955, the Indian Government banned the export of surgical and disposable masks. The Directorate General of Foreign Trade (DGFT) imposed this rule with immediate effect after the nation observed a black day earlier this week, with the highest one day rise of 693 new cases and the total reaching 4858, as per Worldometer’s updated sources (as of 7th April).

Apart from the prohibition of all ventilators and textile raw material export, items including gloves, ophthalmic instruments, surgical blades, gas masks with chemical absorbents for filtration and biopsy punch, were clarified to be freely exported.  This move is set to empower the state governments to regulate production, distribution and prices of these items and prevent unnecessary hoarding and black marketing along the way.

DIY Guides to the Rescue!
Fearing mandatory reservation of medical masks for health professionals and consequent unavailability for the general public, India’s science and technology (S&T) ministry recently released a detailed guide on how to make DIY, homemade masks.


Dr Shailja Vaidya Gupta, an advisor to the government’s Principal Scientific Adviser, says “Washable and reusable masks can lower the spread of COVID-19 amongst residents of densely populated areas.” After all, something less perfect is still better than continuing to use nothing. 

Trend of Maskmakers and Mask Donations in the Country
In Mizoram, 400 tailors have kept themselves productive in these bleak times, by making protective gears, as per the directions of nurses and doctors, for truck drivers, police personnel, and the members of the civil society who formed the Local Task Force to undertake the delivery of these products. Meanwhile the UP government has decided to distribute 66 crore washable khadi masks to the poor in different parts of the state while Self-Help Groups in Odisha are making 50,000 masks everyday under the Mission Shakti programme, having distributed 1 Million Masks already.

Amidst all this goodwill work, there have also been reports by prison officials at Tihar and Mandoli jails, that inmates have stitched 75,000 face masks since March 2020, for Delhi Traffic Police, fellow prisoners and miscellaneous organisations. Following this, Inmates of Central Prison in Hyderabad started stitching masks for IT companies while Kerala jails welcomed visitors to motivate the cell members to join hands in supplying handmade masks nationwide.

Unmasking: What’s Going on in Other Parts of the World?
As if being the epicentre of COVID-19 wasn’t enough bad publicity for them, China has continued to stay in the redlight, with last month’s reports of Spain sending back 50,000 faulty testing kits worth £382million including ventilators, masks and gloves, to the dragon land. A White House source even claimed that the Chinese were making the Italians buy back the same masks and PPE (personal protective equipment) that the latter had donated at the height of the Wuhan Outbreak. After even the Dutch government recalled 600,000 face masks made in China that did not meet the CDC approved standards, Beijing told countries to recheck the instructions ‘carefully’ that were sent along with the masks.

On the medical front, voluntary use of non-medical masks has been recommended in the US as WHO continues to advise healthy people to wear surgical masks/N95 Respirators only if they are caring for suspected patients. Other than that, there have been speculations of officials trying to bribe their way out of an impending shortage of masks in the country, by hijacking shipments going to worst hit areas of France.

To Wear or Not to Wear Masks?
The world cannot function forever in a lockdown. South Korea has already achieved this nirvana with no economic crisis looming on their heads and controlling the Italy like trajectory by widespread covid-19 testing kits and provision of masks to every citizen in the country.

mask covid-19

So while hotspots may continue to be under isolation for a longer period of time internationally, other areas can open up cautiously and masks can be made a mandatory accessory. This can ensure people stay alert to the health risk posed by COVID-19 even in public places. We can do all it takes to end this pandemic.

Curiopedia
  • Many manufacturing companies have stopped their core operations and have started manufacturing masks.
  • Bauer, Brooks Brothers, Carhartt, Eclipse International, Gap Inc and MyPillow are some of them.
  • The history of protective respiratory equipment can be traced back as far as the first century, when Pliny the Elder (circa A.D. 23-79) described using animal bladder skins to protect workers in Roman mines from red lead oxide dust.