Building portfolio of therapeutic options for COVID-19 patients: Harsh Vardhan

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Updated: Sep 14, 2020 11:28 PM

One prophylactic trial of 'Aswagandha' and three trials of 'Guduchi plus Pippali'; Yashtimadhu; and polyherbal AYUSH drug (AYUSH-64), are planned on moderately-ill COVID-19 patients, he said.

Vardhan pointed out that 45 per cent of the empanelled hospitals are private facilities providing 52 per cent of the overall treatments and raising 61 per cent of the hospital admissions claims amount, the statement said. (Image: PTI)

A portfolio of therapeutic options for COVID-19 patients is being built by undertaking 13 clinical trials of repurposed drugs and harnessing traditional knowledge using the modern medicine approach, with trials involving medicinal plants like ‘Aswagandha’ also planned, Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan said on Monday.

Making a statement in Lok Sabha on the COVID-19 pandemic and the steps taken by the central government, Vardhan said in India, a major focus has been on facilitating the development of COVID-19 vaccine and more than 30 vaccine candidates have been supported which are in different stages of development.

He said Phase 2 clinical trial of ‘immunomodulator Sepsivac’ has been completed successfully while Phase 2 clinical trial of the first-ever phytopharmaceutical ACQH is underway.

One prophylactic trial of ‘Aswagandha’ and three trials of ‘Guduchi plus Pippali’; Yashtimadhu; and polyherbal AYUSH drug (AYUSH-64), are planned on moderately-ill COVID-19 patients, he said.

“Thirteen clinical trials of repurposed drugs and harnessing of traditional knowledge using the modern medicine approach are building a portfolio of therapeutic options for COVID-19 patients,” the health minister said.

Vardhan said an effective vaccine would be the sure shot tool in armamentarium against this disease.

“On this front, globally, there are around 145 candidate vaccines in preclinical evaluation and currently 35 vaccines in clinical trial,” he said.

In India, a major focus has been on facilitating the development of COVID-19 vaccine and more than 30 vaccine candidates have been supported which are in different stages of development, Vardhan said.

Three candidates are in advanced stage of Phase I/II/III trials and more than four are in advanced pre-clinical development stage, he said.

OVID-19 biorepositories have been setup which have collected more than 40,000 samples that have been made available to researchers and industry for developing diagnostics, therapeutics and vaccines, the minister said in his statement.

To coordinate the procurement and distribution of COVID-19 vaccine, the government has constituted a National Expert Group on Vaccine Administration for COVID-19 on August 7, 2020, under the Chairmanship of Member (Health), NITI Aayog, he said.

In his statement, Vardhan also said the Ministry of AYUSH has contributed through various measures for the management and mitigation of COVID-19.

The ministry recommended guidelines of self-care for preventive health measures and boosting immunity, he said.

The Ministry of AYUSH has also issued health advisories from different systems of medicine on prophylaxis and immunity promotion which was translated into eight foreign languages and circulated to Indian Embassies, he said.

Various AYUSH Hospitals were designated as quarantine centres, isolation centres, COVID Care Centres and COVID Health Centres, he pointed out.

Around 8.5 lakh Ayush healthcare professionals have been registered on covidwarriors.gov.in, he said.

An “Inter-disciplinary AYUSH R&D Task Force” has formulated and designed clinical research protocols for AYUSH prophylactic studies and add-on interventions in COVID-19 positive cases, he said.

AYUSH-CSIR collaborative studies were initiated with AYUSH medicines for prophylaxis/treatment, he said.

A large scale population-based study through AYUSH Research Councils and National Institutes under the Ministry on prophylaxis of AYUSH interventions in targeted populations in containment zones is underway, he said.

Ministry of AYUSH has also initiated impact assessment of effectiveness, acceptance and usage of AYUSH advisories and measures in prevention of COVID 19 through a mobile application app known as AYUSH-Sanjivani app, Vardhan said.

He also said states have been requested to assess the stock of their logistic, particularly Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) and procure the same.

“Total orders for 1.92 crore PPEs have been placed by the central government so far. The Ministry has already supplied 1.39 crore PPE Kits and 3.43 crore N95 masks to States (as on September 11, 2020),” he said.

Department of Pharmaceuticals increased the production of drug hydroxychloroquine manifold and as on September 11, 2020, the health ministry has issued 10.84 crore tablets of Hydroxychloroquine to states and UTs, he said, adding that India has also exported it to more than 140 countries.

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