Scientists across the globe are racing to come up with a drug or vaccine to treat and prevent Covid-19. It's a coordinated global effort the likes of which we've never seen. Now, one maker of herbal products in India, co-founded by billionaire Acharya Balkrishna and celebrity yogi Baba Ramdev called Patanjali Ayurved, is claiming that they've developed an herbal cure for Covid-19 that can completely cure those affected by the ravaging respiratory disease. They've launched the Corona Kit, which contains an ayurvedic pill called Coronil, nasal drops, and herbal oil. We're all saved! Normal life can begin again! Except…not so fast, Balkrishna and Ramdev's Corona Kit has already been criticized both by the medical community in India and the country's government.
The company Patanjali Ayurved sells natural supplements, soap, skin products, and instant noodles. Yoga guru Baba Ramdev is the face of the company. The two grew Patanjali Ayurved into a booming company with $1.6 billion in annual revenue. Patanjali Ayurved brands itself as all-natural, homegrown, and wholesome. Ramdev achieved fame from appearances on Indian TV. His celebrity made Patanjali Ayurved a household name. Balkrishna owns most of the stock. Ramdev has a very small holding, as he lives by the life motto of "sanyasi," a life free of material possessions.
Balakrishna and Ramdev held a press conference to announce the Corona Kit. Currently, India has the fourth-highest number of people globally who've tested positive for coronavirus. India has a Ministry of Ayush, a governmental department that promotes alternative medicine such as Ayurveda, homeopathy, and yoga. The Ministry released a statement questioning the facts of the claim that Corona Kit cures Covid-19 and ordered the company to stop advertising their new public or publicizing unproven claims of its efficacy until the Ministry has a chance to investigate. The ministry wants to know if Patanjali carried out a research study, clinical trials, and sample size of patients treated with the Corona Kit.
Balakrishna and Ramdev claim to have had 120 asymptomatic, mildly symptomatic, and moderately symptomatic in the study. Half were given the Coronil pill. The other half was given a placebo. They tested the patients on the third, seventh, and 14th days. They claim that the symptomatic patients turned asymptomatic by the end of the study. The Coronil pill is made from extracts of Indian ginseng, giloy, and holy basil. The launch of Coronil comes at a time when India's government is exploring the use of natural medicines to treat the coronavirus. The Ministry of Ayush is conducting a study of three different formulations for the potential treatment of Covid-19 patients. However, the Ministry is quick to point out that their meds in development are not antiviral. They are being designed to support the immune and/or respiratory system.