Desperately Seeking Cure: COVID-19 and the Race for Vaccine

“We are not talking about an immunity booster. We are talking about a cure.”

Yes, you read it right. One branded company has claimed a cure of the dreadful COVID-19 virus without any supportive statement from the Union Health Ministry and ICMR.

The Managing Director of Patanjali, Acharya Balkrishna claimed today that the Patanjali Ayurveda Limited has developed an Ayurveda medicine as a cure. It is, he pointed out, will be successful in curing patients within five to fourteen days. The company has also claimed that it has appointed a team of scientists who have done the stimulation first and identified the compounds which can fight the virus. It is also reported that the company has received “hundred per cent positive solution”. Patanjali is supposedly conducting controlled clinical trials at present and announcement is expected to be made next week more specifically about the evidence.

Baba Ramdev has also claimed that the consumption of Coronil has resulted in full recovery among the infected patients as they in later examinations have all received “negative” reports. The medicine, we are informed, is made of Ayurvedic components like Ashwagandha, Giloy, Tulsi and many more components. There is a definite dose by which it is to be taken twice daily, morning and evening.

Shripad Y Naik, the Union Minister of State in the Ministry of Ayurveda, Yoga and Naturopathy, has recently reported that India is currently working on four traditional medicine formulations. Recently the Maharashtra government has officially announced that the homeopathy medicine, Arsenic Album 30, may be taken as a prophylactic against the virus for an immunity booster.

But when it comes to hardcore scientific research in biotechnology and pharmaceutics the leading bio-tech and research teams of the world do not show any haste in claiming cure for coronavirus. There are lots of stages of intensive research and also the essential process of peer recognition for a vaccine to attain legitimacy. Reports suggest that more than hundred potential candidate vaccines are in the pipeline but only six of them are at present in preliminary testing stage. Oxford University researchers have already informed about making fair progress in research but they do want to go through a rigorous process before making the final claim.

The major pharmaceutical companies like Gilead Sciences, AstraZeneca, Pfizer, Moderna and many more are rushing and struggling to find a successful vaccine and some of them have claimed to have made some “impressive progress”. A vaccine normally takes years to develop and attain curable status. During this COVID-19 situation most researchers are hoping to achieve the same amount of work within few months with endless hours in the lab. Some of them think that a vaccine is likely to become available by mid-2021.

Pandemic invariably causes panic. Almost everybody wants to be the first to avail any possible cure to get rid of the fear of being infected by deadly infection. In such times various claims of ‘sure cure’ and ‘guaranteed prevention’ come to be publicised. The Union Health Department is making repeated announcements cautioning the public not to fall for rumours about any possible cure including self-medication, cow urine and many more. Specialised scientists are fighting hard to develop the potential cure for the virus. Unless anything is properly certified by appropriate authorities we need to be very careful. In innovating vaccines for such a dreaded virus the slow and steady wins the race.

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