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Dr. Lt Col A. Ravikumar, Pro Vice Chancellor

Taming COVID: SRM gets into herbal, BCG vaccine study

Third study on efficacy of ‘Hydroxychloroquine’

Going beyond a facile recommendation that ‘Siddha’ formulations including ‘Kabasura Kudineer’ is an ‘add-on therapy’ in treating Covid-19 patients, “We are now testing its efficacy in a proper scientific study to see whether it really works,” says Dr. Melvin George.

 

KATTANKULATHUR (Tamil Nadu), Aug 9: Even after six months into a global pandemic, the continuing uncertainty over the progression of Covid-19, novel coronavirus, has infused a greater degree of social purpose in SRM Medical College Hospital and Research Centre at Kattankulathur near here to try and contribute to taming the virus by undertaking research across medicinal systems including ‘Siddha’, said Dr. Lt Col A. Ravikumar, Pro Vice Chancellor, Medical and Health Sciences.

In the popular message-space, ‘Kabasura Kudineer’, the herbal concoction as part of the indigenous ‘Siddha’ formulations to tackle coronavirus, may be seen as a harmless immune booster in susceptible populations. But that stage is already being surpassed, thanks to the Central and State governments also opening up the inclusion of Indian systems of medicine and medical research institutions like SRM taking up the challenge. 

Going beyond a facile recommendation that ‘Siddha’ formulations including ‘Kabasura Kudineer’ is an ‘add-on therapy’ in treating Covid-19 patients, “We are now testing its efficacy in a proper scientific study to see whether it really works,” says Dr. Melvin George, Associate Professor, Clinical Pharmacology, SRM Medical College Hospital and Research Centre. 

The study, in collaboration with the National Institute of Siddha (NIS), aims to document, on the basis of scientific evidence, how the ‘Siddha’ formulations add to the effectiveness of the mainline allopathic hospital treatment to cure Covid-19 and also how they can prevent the virus from spreading. 

This important study is being aided by two groups of people- in all 150 and split into 75 persons in each group with their individual consent-, of which one group will get the regular medical treatment for Covid-19 plus the ‘Siddha’ formulations and the other group get only standard medical care, explains Dr. Satyajit Mahopatra and Dr Melvin George. 

The outcomes from these two groups will be compared in testing claims whether ‘Siddha’ formulations really help prevent Covid-19 cases going from ‘mild’ to ‘severe’, the lesser number of days taken for a cure and the like. “Nearly 40 per cent of this study has been completed and at the end of it we will publish the findings along with the NIS”, he said. 

Another area of research SRM Medical College Hospital and Research Centre is in thick of, is testing the efficacy of recombinant BCG vaccine in preventing Covid-19 infections among people who are in the high-risk zone, particularly among the hospital staff who are treating Covid-19 patients. This is in partnership with the Serum Institute, Pune. 

The third study involves finding out whether ‘Hydroxychloroquine’ as a prophylactic can prevent onset of Covid-19 coronavirus infection in people who are working in hospitals. The Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) has given guidelines for this two months back and SRM Medical College Hospital and Research Centre is one of the 25 hospitals across India chosen for this study also, points out Dr Melvin George. 

Ultimately, with so many people suffering due to Covid-19, the purpose of “widening our research horizons, given our very good infrastructure, by collaborating with various organisations is to join different initiatives and with our contributions cumulatively make an impact” in fighting the pandemic, says Dr Melvin George. 

“It is a large team who are working and if by collaborative research we can contribute to understanding Covid-19, for its treatment and prevention and if it can stop the pandemic and save people’s lives, it will be a big thing,” added Dr Melvin George, on the overall significance of these projects.

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