Corona Crisis- Where is Ministry of Ayush?

Corona infection has taken a huge proportion. International organizations, governments, social institutions are doing everything possible to contain the pandemic and assist you in every possible manner. However, whatever be the resources available with these organizations, they cannot take care of everybody for a very long time. You need to take care of yourself. All that government is asking from you is to maintain social distancing- it is not a great demand and one can easily follow it.

But what next? It is important to understand the corona virus. Nobody knows the number of viruses present in our body and around ourselves. But, everybody agrees that such number runs in trillions. At all times trillions of viruses are present in our body. The Guardian [Feb 27, 2020] reported that many individuals who get coronavirus will experience nothing worse than seasonal flu symptoms, but the overall profile of the disease, including its mortality rate, looks more serious. At the start of an outbreak the apparent mortality rate can be an overestimate if a lot of mild cases are being missed. But Bruce Aylward, a WHO expert, who led an international mission to China to learn about the virus and the country’s response, said this has not been the case with Covid-19. If borne out by further testing, this could mean that current estimates of a roughly 1% fatality rate are accurate. This would make Covid-19 about 10 times more deadly than seasonal flu, which is estimated to kill between 290,000 and 650,000 people a year globally.

Further, a large study in China found that about 80% of confirmed cases had fairly mild symptoms (defined as no significant infection in the lungs). About 15% had severe symptoms that caused significant shortness of breath, low blood oxygen or other lung problems, and fewer than 5% of cases were critical, featuring respiratory failure, septic shock or multiple organ problems. Thus, even these studies suggest that it a type of seasonal flu, with greater severity.

We all know that there is no medicine against the corona infection. Thus, even if one is infected, or tested positive for corona, there is nothing much one can do in absence of a medicine. It is widely believed that there is no medicine even against mild seasonal flu. It has been estimated that there are over 380 trillion viruses inhabiting us, a community collectively known as the human virome. The human body is a breeding ground for micro-organisms, and despite their abundance, we have very little insight into what all they or any of the other viruses in the body are doing.

Virus infections are natural and we do get various types of virus infections at almost all times. In many of the situations, it is beneficial too. Viral infections at a young age may help our immune system develop properly, providing protection against later infections and preventing immune overreactions (allergies). Such attenuated infections might provide a form of natural vaccination against later infections with related, more-pathogenic viruses. [Viruses of Human Body, Eric Delwart, The Scientist- 2016].

What can one do in such situation? Everybody is of the view that more tests should be conducted. I have failed to understand the benefit of diagnosing corona, when we have no medicine against it.

A person’s immune system is the best defence against any type of infection. In absence of medicines, taking care of one’s immune system is the best thing one can do. It is said that a regular intake of “Vitamin C”, available naturally in fruits and vegetables, improves the immune system. Though hundreds types of public announcements are made by government and social organizations, no concentrated effect are made by the Government to inform people about the effectiveness of strengthening immune system in the present scenario.

We must understand that there is nothing to fear. Even if it is believed that corona results in 10 times severe seasonal flu, it is not something to fear. In our life we have faced mild flu many times, and even severe flu a couple of times. As such, it is an essential to not fear corona. However, when people live in constant fear, whether from physical dangers in their environment or threats they perceive, they can become incapacitated and their immune system is compromised. In this situation of constant fear of “corona”, we must take care of our immune system.

Unfortunately, Ministry of Ayush is silent and not speaking anything. Absence of words from Ayush is most disturbing.   The Ministry of AYUSH was formed on 9th November 2014 to ensure the optimal development and propagation of AYUSH systems of health care. Earlier it was known as the Department of Indian System of Medicine and Homeopathy (ISM&H) which was created in March 1995 and renamed as Department of Ayurveda, Yoga and Naturopathy, Unani, Siddha and Homoeopathy (AYUSH) in November 2003, with focused attention for development of Education and Research in Ayurveda, Yoga and Naturopathy, Unani, Siddha and Homoeopathy.

Why is Ayush and alternate medicine practitioners are silent? Whether the Government is listening to them. We see that all the press briefings based on allopathic system of medicine; why are their words not communicated. Have they nothing to say and they are not being heard? We need to find out.

Thankfully, an interaction was held through video conference with prominent personalities from the AYUSH Sector on 28 March 2020, the Hon’ble Prime Minister called upon the Sector to work for evidence-based solutions to restrain the spread of the Covid -19 pandemic. One of the follow up action being initiated by the Ministry of AYUSH on the call for action given by the Hon’ble PM is to provide a channel to enlist inputs from AYUSH practitioners and AYUSH institutions, in the form of suggestions and proposals on activities that could restrain the spread of the Covid -19 pandemic, or manage the disease. The information can be shared on Ministry of Ayush website.

Ministry of Ayush cannot stay silent at this time of crisis. It is true that they may not have any specific medicine of Corona, but even WHO and allopathy is in the same situation. Still, they must recommend whatever is possible; whatever is easily available and cost effective to a large population of poor India. Ministry of Ayush cannot refuse to take the challenge in this hour of crisis.

Article By

Rajesh Kumar, Advocate
Managing Partner
Rajesh Kumar and Associates, Advocates & Consultants
Off: 407A, Milap Niketan, 8A, Bahadur Shah Zafar Marg, New Delhi-110002, Ph: +91-11-40224387

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