Bureaucratic indifference delays clinical trial of drug for Covid-19

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Bureaucratic indifference delays clinical trial of drug for Covid-19

Monday, 25 May 2020 | Kumar Chellappan | KOCHI

Even as the country is struggling hard to contain the coronavirus pandemic which is spreading all over with vigor by the hour, indifference of bureaucrats towards the medicine developed to minimise and regulate the contagious disease is causing irreparable damage to the soul of India.

While scientists specialising in modern medicine are groping in the dark in search of a vaccine to fight the coronavirus pandemic,  an Ayurvedic drug and protocol developed by a team of eminent Ayurvedic physicians in collaboration with modern medicine specialists is given a raw deal by the bureaucrats of the Ministry of Ayush. The details of the drug and treatment protocol was submitted to the Ayush Ministry on April 15 this year.

Messages to Shripad Yesso Naik, Union  Minister of State (Independent Charge) did not evoke any response. Dr Rajesh Kotecha, eminent Ayurvedic physician , who is also the secretary to the Ayush Ministry chose to ignore the messages sent to him requesting for details about the clinical trials.

The team of doctors that developed the ayurvedic drug prepared from the age old Indian system of knowledge was led by Dr PR Krishnakumar, South India’s leading Ayurvedic scholar and included a who’s who of medical researchers. Dr Rama Jayasundar of All India Institute of Medical sciences, New Delhi, a physicist turned ayurvedic researcher, Dr CV Krishnaswamy, Tamil Nadu’s leading physician, Prof B M Hegde, described as the country’s medical warrior are some of the members of the team that developed the drug and protocol.

Dr Krishnakumar has been honoured by the nation with Padma Sree while Prof Hegde is a Padma Bhushan with hundreds of publications in national and international journals. It was Prof Hegde who declared in his pathbreaking research work “What Doctors Don’t Get To Study in Medical School” that the drug for coronavirus and influenza would come from India.

“We submitted everything  as per specification to the Ayush Ministry with a request that the drug be taken up for clinical trials. Without clinical trials, it can never be administered to the patients. But till date we have not received any communication from the ministry about the fate of our application,” a visibly upset Dr Krishnakumar told The Pioneer.

Dr Jayasundar too sounded sad while speaking to The Pioneer over the inordinate delay in taking up their work   for clinical trials. “I don’t know what is happening. You have to check it with the authorities,” she said when asked about the delay. Dr Krishnaswamy said this clinical trial should have been taken up on a war footing.

“As you see, the number of coronavirus patients are shooting up on an hourly basis and our medical system should face the situation in a mission mode,” said Dr Krishnaswamy.

A veteran medical doctor pointed out that the possibility of a vaccine to fight coronavirus getting ready in the near future is remote.

“They could not develop a vaccine over the last 100 years and how you expect it to become a reality in 100 days?” he asked. The Cold Research Institute in London which commenced research in 1948 to develop a vaccine was shut down  in 1999 after fifty years of research accepting its failure to deliver the wonder drug.

 “The medicine for virus would come from Indian system of knowledge.” was their parting message.    

The Pioneer had reported that “the speed of coronavirus spurt in India, both in terms of duration of doubling of cases as well as ratio of growth over a period of one month, could provide little comfort despite reassuring claims by officials and experts. The country has surpassed the global average and raced ahead of some of the worst affected nations by a big margin on both these counts.”

On May 9, when the above report was published India had 63,000 Plus covid cases while on Saturday it had crossed 1,31,310. 

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