Hundreds across the country are under watch amid a health scare over the SARS-like coronavirus, which broke out in China last month and spread to other parts of the world. Amid rising deaths in China due to the outbreak, India's Ministry of Ayurveda on Wednesday put out a statement and elaborated how unani medicines could be "useful in the symptomatic management of the coronavirus infection".
Along with the Ayurvedic practices that can help in case of a possible infection, the ministry has recommended that homoeopathic medicine Arsenicum album 30 could be taken empty stomach daily for three days as a preventive medicine.
The advisory titled: "Homoeopathy for Prevention of Corona virus Infections" also explains how home remedies can be useful in prevention of the novel coronavirus (nCoV) infection that has claimed 130 lives in China.
The virus has emerged from a seafood and animal market in China's Wuhan city, epicentre of the epidemic, and is said to have spread as far as the United States. While there is no specific antiviral treatment recommended for the infection, researchers are racing to make a vaccine.
As the countries across the world struggle to combat the outrbreak, the Ayush Ministry's advisory on coronavirus has not gone down well with social media users, especially the medical experts. "I would like to know if any homoeopathy student or Unani 'medicine' student ever studied any microbiology (leave aside virology) in curriculum," wrote a user responding to the recommendations.
Another user expressed disbelief on whether Unani medicines could indeed prevent infection. "Is this true?! Can Homepathy and Unani medicines be consumed as preventive measures as claimed here?! @UNGeneva".
In a caustic dig at the Ministry of Ayurveda, one of the social media users wrote: "A big list of never-tried homeopathy and Unani drugs being advised to prevent the #coronoavirus . Good luck."
Just researched for evidence for each of the unani drugs suggested by the ministry. None of them, have any evidence in reducing virulence.— Dr Sumaiya Shaikh (@Neurophysik) January 29, 2020
Likewise, homeopathy has no evidence for curing any viral infections.
With dangerous pandemics such as #coronarovirus this is outrageous! https://t.co/wdSRiuXKtU
This is absolute madness. The advice is a mix of— JayEnAar (@GorwayGlobal) January 29, 2020
a) standard @WHO advice (hygiene, hand washing, etc) AND
b) a series of herbs/potions etc which are at best useless, at worst toxic due to processing impurities. But the real danger is people will ignore (a) and practice (b).
Homeopathy and unani?— LawyerInBaking (@LawyerInBaking) January 29, 2020
What's next? Typing camphor and chilli and hair? https://t.co/UbYboo8AXk
I would like to know if any homoeopathy student or Unani "medicine" student ever studied any microbiology (leave aside virology) in curriculum. https://t.co/QXwMCKToBG— Dr Sukumar Mehta (@SukumarMehta1) January 29, 2020
"This actually gets worse when you read the detailed press release. A host of ayurvedic, homeopathic and unani preparations, with an unknown adverse effect profile, are being advised to counter #CoronaVirus, based on what? A round table meeting of a group of AYUSH practicioners?" read another tweet.
The common symptoms of the novel coronavirus strain, which has infected thousands in China, include respiratory symptoms such as fever, cough, shortness of breath and breathing difficulties, according to the World Health Organisation.