The first animal study in India on SARS-CoV-2 virus (the cause of COVID-19) which arose out of a collaboration between Ministry of AYUSH and Department of Bio-Technology (DBT), has moved into its final stages. One among the most sophisticated research projects in the COVID-19 context in the country, this concerns pre-clinical studies on four oral interventions have already been taken up for clinical studies through another collaboration of the Ministry of AYUSH, the partner in this one being the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR).
The MoU relating to the animal study (in-vivo study) was signed between the National Medicinal Plants Board (NMPB) of the Ministry of AYUSH and the DBT, and is based on the concept of reverse Pharmacology (PH) which explores the scientific reasoning behind established medical practice like those of Ayurveda. This study is being held at the Translational Health Science and Technology Institute (THSTI).
Through this study, the country has registered a land mark in SARS-CoV-2 virus / COVID-19 research, this being India’s first in-vivo anti-SARS-CoV-2 virus study using oral interventions. The first round of experiments has just been completed and the results are awaited. In the meanwhile, the in-vitro anti-viral studies have been initiated at Regional Centre for Biotechnology(RCB), Faridabad (a statutory institute of DBT). These studies are expected to complete by January 31, 2021.
The findings will provide scientific evidence on the existing oral interventions as well as generate leads on new herbal drugs. These four interventions are Aswagandha, Guduch-Pippali combination, Mulethi and AYUSH-64 (a poly-herbal compound).
An ‘Interdisciplinary AYUSH R&D Task Force on COVID-19’ was constituted by Ministry of AYUSH on April 2, 2020. Initially, the protocols for prophylaxis and empirical use of oral interventions were released.
The phase-1 of the in-vivo study at THSTI has been completed. Out of the said four interventions, analysis with respect to anti-viral activity of Aswagandha has been completed. The analysis in respect of other three interventions are in progress and the study results are expected to be announced shortly.