The government has finally clarified that the Patanjali Trust could market its new medicine, Coronil, only as an immunity booster, and not as a Covid drug. The Ministry of Ayush has said it had examined the matter and found that Coronil had been registered as an immunity booster while the two other formulations in the so-called Covid package were also registered as ayurvedic drugs. It has also been stated that on the package and label of these drugs, no claim about a cure for Covid-19 should be mentioned. The ministry, however, said Patanjali had initiated clinical trials for potential Covid-19 therapy as per the government guidelines and the trust could continue with those trials as per procedure. While the government has done well to try and put the controversy at rest, what it has not done is to explain why the name of the medicine should sound familiar to the disease itself, creating chances of the people being mislead and of unscrupulous practitioners cashing in on the fear that the pandemic has generated. A case has already been registered in Rajasthan in this connection. Ramdev himself has said the medicine is not ‘treatment’ but part of ‘Covid management’, which when seen with the ministry’s stance that the Patanjali Trust can carry on with its search for a medicine while adhering to the rules, indicates that the door has been kept ajar only for the research to continue and not for profiteering, using misleading brand names
With a spike in coronavirus cases and the treatment for it still not conclusive, even as the country opens up for movement and economic activities, the quest to find a panacea is unceasing but its scientific basis should remain unquestioned.
Ayurveda relies on the traditional belief that health is the result of harmony between vata (air), pitta (bile) and kapha (phlegm) where an imbalance leads to a disease. The idea to restore health and immunity by going back to the basics is fine and the ministry is well within its rights to promote alternative systems of medicine, but claims of a cure should be made only after controlled clinical trials. Clarity should take precedence over confusion.