|Year : 2021 | Volume
| Issue : 1 | Page : 1-2
Integration of Ayurveda in COVID-19 management: Need of an hour
Tanuja Manoj Nesari
Director, All India Institute of Ayurveda, Sarita Vihar, New Delhi, India
|Date of Submission||03-Jun-2021|
|Date of Acceptance||07-Jun-2021|
|Date of Web Publication||17-Jun-2021|
Prof. Tanuja Manoj Nesari
Director, All India Institute of Ayurveda, Sarita Vihar, New Delhi
Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None
|How to cite this article:|
Nesari TM. Integration of Ayurveda in COVID-19 management: Need of an hour. J Ayurveda Case Rep 2021;4:1-2
The COVID-19 pandemic has been around for more than a year now. Infected individuals are presenting with a wide range of symptoms, from mild and moderate, to severe and sometimes critical. As the virus is rapidly changing its form and new variants being developed, unusual and newer symptoms are being observed in recently infected COVID-19 patients. Although, in many of them, the general symptoms of COVID-19 including fever, respiratory distress, headache, body ache, cough, nasal symptoms, sore throat, anosmia etc., are present, the second wave is being observed with newer symptoms such as gastrointestinal infection, hearing loss, extreme lethargy, unexplained fatigue, conjunctivitis, dry mouth, diarrhea, skin rashes, lack of concentration. In addition, mucormycosis infection is appearing more frequently among recovering or recovered from COVID-19 patients in India.
India is currently observing the second wave and the virus appears to be highly infectious than the earlier. As of now (May 28, 2021), there are 2.75 crore total cases, 23 lakh active cases, 2.48 crore recovered cases, and 3.18 lakhs death. India despite of having World's second largest population is one among countries reported lowest percentage of population infected with the coronavirus (only 1.9% of Indian population is infected with coronavirus) with the lowest death per million (221 death/1 Million of population) and lowest death rate (1.14%) with 90.3% recovery rate. The contribution of AYUSH and Ayurveda is statistically remarkable in the prevention of COVID-19.
Along with the conventional medicinal approach, few countries have tried using traditional approaches in the management of this epidemic.
Traditional medicines do not refute scientific knowledge. In many cases, traditional practitioners actively co-opted modern scientific methods as they renew living practices. The modern Southeast Asian patient often draws on multiple therapies to manage illness. Analyzing traditional treatments require a proactive approach: monitoring and modeling mobilization of ancient wisdom and beliefs with technology's help. In Indian scenario, the traditional systems, popularly known as the AYUSH systems, are considered to strengthen host defense mechanism by the Ministry of Ayush that could prove to be useful as an effective, comparatively safer, easily accessible prophylaxis in the management of COVID-19. These AYUSH systems have gained popularity globally for their significant contributions during the current pandemic.
As an urgent call to mitigate the medical emergency, Ministry of Ayush, Government of India has taken many initiatives for public awareness about COVID appropriate behavior, and also issue various advisories, guidelines for the prevention, prophylaxis as well as symptomatic management of COVID-19 pandemic, namely guideline for the self-care, guideline for patients in home isolation, Ayurveda and Unani preventive measures, guidelines for Ayurvedic, Unani, Homeopathy and Siddha practitioners, post-COVID management protocol, and telemedicine practice guidelines in a scientific way to be used for global audience. Ministry also ensures massive research drive to meet the challenge in the most valid way. A total of 197 AYUSH studies were registered on CTRI for COVID-19, out of which 105 were sponsored by Government of India and proposed in AYUSH setting (n = 107). The Ministry of Ayush has recently introduced a “Ayush Clinical Case Repository” portal to motivate practitioners and scholars to publish success stories on COVID-19 management as well as management of other diseases to promote the concept of “Practice-based evidences.”
These efforts directly infer the importance of Ayurveda practitioners in addressing the situation. While making such enormous efforts to meet the raising needs, the Ministry of Ayush has also invited adopting rational and ethical use of AYUSH measures and treatment avoiding misconceptions. The Ministry has also urged not to fall prey to misleading information and objectionable claims on AYUSH interventions for COVID-19 management.
All India Institute of Ayurveda, being the premier institute, establishes a COVID Health Care Ward (CHC) to manage mild and moderate cases of COVID-19 with integrated protocol. AIIA develops the infrastructure for providing modern diagnostic facilities, central oxygen supply (COVID special ward having green zone, red zone, CCTV monitoring system, etc.) under one roof with the co-location of expert panels from both Ayurveda and conventional system to manage emergency conditions with distinctly and well executable referral system. Around 600 patients were admitted in CHC ward of AIIA in the past 11 months, with completely cured and recovery rate of 99.5% (excluding referral data). Holistic and integrative management protocol including Yoga, diet, Ayurveda medication, counseling, and recreational activities along with Ayurvedic medicines and conventional medicine support only in few cases (as of when it required) is the key of success. This can be considered as best integrated protocol for others to be followed.
Before COVID-19 pandemic, Ayurveda is recognized for its strength in non-communicable and chronic diseases but the success of CHC in AIIA changes this prospective with its motive of “Care with compassion” it ascertains the utility of Ayurveda in the management of infectious and communicable diseases also.
Beside CHC ward, there are many more COVID-related social activities by the AIIA. AIIA conducted the large cohort public health study for 80,000 Delhi police personnel entitled “AYUSH-RAKSHA” Ayush-Raksha Kit having Ayurvedic medicines were distributed in three phases and data were analyzed to evaluate the efficacy of Ayurvedic medicines in the prevention of disease. Result showed that age-specific mortality rate of Delhi Police versus Delhi population was significantly reduced. There was a decreasing trend in the incidence of COVID cases in Delhi Police personnel from 15th June onward (after intervention) whereas Delhi population had increasing trend during the same time which witnessed its peak number of cases during intervention period when compared to other state total number of cases in Delhi Police was low. Similarly, mortality rate among Delhi Police personnel was also much less as compared to other states police personnel.
Similarly, additional major initiative entitled “AYU SAMVAD” (“My Health My Responsibility”) is one among the largest public awareness campaign programs on Ayurveda and COVID-19 pandemic organized by AIIA and supported by the Ministry of Ayush. Under this campaign, it is proposed to conduct five lack lectures through standardized presentation developed by AIIA for large sector of masses across the country. This will facilitate for creating awareness regarding following Ayurveda appropriate behavior 19 along with COVID appropriate behavior for prevention and effective management of COVID-19.
AIIA has started post COVID management wing and is looking forward to expanding its services and is soon going to make functional an intensive care unit with integrative protocol.
Emergence of dreaded complications such as mucormycosis and late complications such as allergic aspergillosis that has yet to be reported and many more as post-COVID complication and long COVID cases also need proper Ayurvedic intervention to reduce mortality and betterment of quality of life.
Till the vaccination reaches each citizen of India, integration of AYUSH system of medicine as a whole and Ayurveda specifically can be used for prophylaxis, to ensure the early recovery, to reduce the severity of the disease, to prevent the post-COVID complications, and to minimize the out-of-pocket expenditure.
Hope is important, and recognizing successes is vital, especially during a pandemic. I take this opportunity to invite the authorities involved in the health-care sector to accept the traditional systems and encourage conducting clinical trials on large scale to aid in the fight against COVID-19.
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