The Ministry of Ayush on Thursday said AYUSH 64, a poly herbal formulation developed by the Central Council for Research in Ayurvedic Sciences (CCRAS), has been found to be effective in treatment of of mild to moderate cases of COVID-19 infection. The drug, initially developed for Malaria in 1980, has been repurposed for COVID-19.
AYUSH 64 comprises of Alstonia scholaris (aqueous bark extract), Picrorhiza kurroa (aqueous rhizome extract), Swertia chirata (aqueous extract of whole plant) and Caesalpinia crista (fine-powdered seed pulp). “It is extensively studied, scientifically developed, safe and effective Ayurveda formulation This medicine is also recommended in National Clinical Management Protocol based on Ayurveda and Yoga which is vetted by National Task Force on COVID-19 Management of ICMR,” the Ayush Ministry statement read.
Dr Arvind Chopra, Director, Centre for Rheumatic Diseases, Pune and honorary chief clinical coordinator of the Ministry of Ayush – CSIR collaboration informed that
The trial of AYUSH 64 was conducted at three centres — KGMU in Lucknow, DMIMS in Wardha and BMC COVID Centre in Mumbai — and involved 70 participants in each arm, said Dr Arvind Chopra, Director, chief clinical coordinator of the Ministry of Ayush- CSIR collaboration. AYUSH 64 as an adjunct to standard of care (SoC) showed significant improvement and thus, lesser period of hospitalisation as compared SoC alone, he said.
While the drug trial has provided substantial evidence that AYUSH 64 can be used for treatment of mild to moderate cases, patients taking the medicine will still require monitoring so as to identify any worsening of disease, Dr Chopra said.
The multi-centre trial of AYUSH 64 was monitored by Ayush-CSIR Joint Monitoring Committee (MC), Department of Health Research and former Director General, Indian Council of Medical Research (DG, ICMR), said Dr Bhushan Patwardhan, National Research Professor, Ayush. These clinical studies were periodically reviewed by an independent Data and Safety Management Board (DSMB), he added.
The committee has reviewed the outcome of AYUSH 64 study and recommended the drug in the management of asymptomatic, mild to moderate COVID-19 cases. “It is worthwhile to note that this committee has also recommended Ministry to communicate to the state licensing authorities/regulators regarding adding new indication of AYUSH 64 for repurposing in the management of mild to moderate COVID-19,” said Dr. V M Katoch, Chairman of the MC.
“Additional studies on Ayush 64 are underway at reputed research institutes including CSIR-IIIM, DBT-THSTI, ICMR-NIN, AIIMS Jodhpur and Medical Colleges including Post Graduate Institute of Medical Education & Research, Chandigarh; King George’s Medical University, Lucknow; Government Medical College, Nagpur; Datta Meghe Institute of Medical Sciences, Nagpur,” the Ministry statement quoted Dr N Srikanth, Director General, CCRAS.