Is Patanjali’s claim of curing COVID-19 a mere marketing stunt?

‘Coronil’, an Ayurvedic treatment kit, was launched by Patanjali as a curative for COVID-19 on 23rd June. Social media platforms and media houses ran high on shows and posts propagating it as quantum leap in the cure of Corona Virus treatment. Media outlets like The Hindu, NDTV, Times Now and Economic Times have published articles for the same. 

Claims on Coronil by Patanjali

Baba Ramdev, the face of Patanajali stated that all necessary permissions were taken for the release and production of the drug. He also claimed that it was 100% cure for the virus and was produced under clinical trials. The government of India’s AYUSH Ministry sent a notice to Patanjali asking not to advertise the drug as a ‘cure’ due to lack of documents. Ramdev later stated in an interview that all the documents related to the testings would be sent to AYUSH Ministry. 

Subsequently, Patanjali put forward a set of documents that contained the Clinical Trial Registry India (CTRI) document which was registered on date 20 May, 2020 along with a letter which had details of the composition of drug, the clinical trials and where it was done. Also two links within drug composition from research articles with letters to the Ministry of Health and Family, Director General, Director General etc were given.

Truth behind Coronil by Patanjali

The license officer at Ayurved department, Uttrakhand mentioned that the application said nothing of Corona Virus and the license was only approved for immunity booster, cough and fever. The Coronil Kit comprises of three separate items which are herb mixture tablets and nasal drops. Research on one of its items is based on a study on mice and not humans. Another study is a computer simulation and not a study on any living species. 

CTRI (Clinical Trails Registry India) document stands as the only proof for registration of clinical trials but proof for results are still not found. Proof for efficiency and peer-reviewed study by researchers are not published. The study released for Coronil is a previously done molecular dynamic study of herb called Giloy done through a computer simulation on a software named Discovery Studio – BIOVIA. 

The Coronavirus coheres the host cell through the receptor using a spike protein. The study says that Giloy terminates electrostatic interactions between the receptor and the protein which binds the receptor. 

Hence, CTRI is only a proof for registration instead of results and the documents have published study for only one out of three given items in the Coronil kit. The research study for Swasari Ras tablets was done on mice not on humans. Moreover, no clinical study was conducted to efficiently prove that the combination of given drugs is an effective cure for Corona Virus. 

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