Described by experts as a ray of hope in the time of the pandemic, the polyherbal drug AYUSH- 64 which was originally developed in 1980 for treatment of malaria, has now been repurposed for Covid 19. The Central Council for Research in Ayurvedic Sciences (CCRAS), a research institution under the Ministry of Ayush devoted to Ayurveda, recently concluded extensive and robust clinical trials of the drug in collaboration with the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) and many other research organizations and medical colleges across the country. The trials led by reputed scientists of the country showed AYUSH 64 has notable antiviral, immune-modulator and antipyretic properties. It is found to be useful in the treatment of asymptomatic, mild and moderate COVID-19 infection. Consequently, the drug is now repurposed for COVID-19.
The announcement by the Ministry of the findings of the clinical trials in a press conference on 29th April 2021 has led to considerable interest in AYUSH -64 among the public as well as medical practitioners. Responding to the numerous queries received in the matter, the Ministry has now released replies to the same in the Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) format, and the same are reproduced below:
- What is Ayush-64
Ayush-64 is an Ayurvedic formulation, developed by the Central Council for Research in Ayurvedic Sciences (CCRAS), the apex body for research in Ayurveda under the Ministry of Ayush. Originally developed in 1980 for the management of Malaria, this drug has now been repurposed for Covid 19 as its ingredients showed notable antiviral, immune-modulator and antipyretic properties. The in-silico study done on Ayush 64 showed that 35 out of 36 of its Phyto-constituents have high binding affinity against COVID 19 virus. The formulation has also shown very promising results in Influenza like illnesses. With scientific evidence generated from 06 clinical studies across India, Ayush 64 has been identified as a potential adjunct to standard care in the management of asymptomatic, mild and moderate COVID 19 to improve the clinical recovery and quality of life.
- Who can take Ayush-64?
It can be taken by patients at any stage of the COVID-19 disease. However, its efficacy was scientifically studied in asymptomatic, mild and moderate disease without risk factors for poor outcome and those not requiring emergency interventions or hospitalization are eligible to take Ayush-64. Patients of mild to moderate COVID-19 cases showing initial symptoms like fever, malaise, body ache, nasal congestion, nasal discharge, headache, cough etc. and of asymptomatic cases of COVID-19 can start taking Ayush 64 within 7 days of diagnosis of the disease through RT-PCR for better outcome.
- Why should I take Ayush-64?
Ayush-64 is found to significantly enhance the speed of clinical recovery in terms of disease symptoms and severity. It also has significant beneficial effects on general health, fatigue, anxiety, stress, appetite, general wellbeing and sleep.
- Is its efficacy on COVID 19 scientifically proven?
Ayush-64 is a poly herbal formulation developed in compliance to all regulatory requirements as well as quality and pharmacopoeial standards by the Central Council for Research in Ayurvedic Sciences (CCRAS) the apex body for research in Ayurveda under the Ministry of Ayush. It has been scientifically established to be useful in the treatment of asymptomatic, mild and moderate COVID-19 infection as an adjunct to standard care through robust clinical trials conducted in the country. The results of the clinical trials demonstrated that Ayush 64 as an adjunct to standard of care (SoC) showed clinically significant improvement and thus lesser period of hospitalization as compared to SoC alone.
The dose for asymptomatic COVID 19 case is 2 tablets of 500 mg twice daily one hour after meals with warm water for 14 days. The dose for mild to moderate cases is 2 tablets of 500 mg thrice daily one hour after meals with warm water for 14 days.
- Are there any side effects of Ayush-64?
Loose motions can occur in some patients, which is self-limiting and does not require any medical intervention
- Can Ayush-64 be taken as prophylactic medicine also?
It may be used for prophylaxis also, in a dose of 2 tablets of 500 mg twice daily, but its efficacy as a prophylactic agent has not been demonstrated through clinical studies. But if a person is exposed to a COVID-19 case, Ayush-64 can be taken when symptoms appear. In such instances, the person should get tested for COVID-19 through RT-PCR or Rapid antigen test and should follow SoC.
- Should Ayush-64 be taken as standalone treatment in mild cases?
It can be taken as a standalone treatment in mild cases under the supervision of an Ayurvedic physician, provided there is availability of appropriate referral facilities. However, it is advised that Ayush64 should be taken as adjunct to the SoC in mild to moderate disease, when the patient is under home isolation. Ayush-64, shall only be used as per the advice of a qualified Ayush practitioner.
- For how many days should Ayush-64 be taken?
Ayush-64 can be taken for a minimum period of 14 days. However, if required, it can be taken up to 12 weeks, as per the advice of a qualified Ayush practitioner. It has been scientifically proven to be safe up to 12 weeks, through clinical studies.
- How should Ayush-64 be taken?
It can be taken with warm water, preferably one hour after food.
- Can a COVID-19 patient with other comorbidities take Ayush-64?
Patients with co-morbidities like hypertension, diabetes etc., can take Ayush-64 for asymptomatic, mild to moderate disease and are advised not to discontinue their respective medications.
- Is Ayush-64 safe, if taken after vaccination?
Yes. If a person gets infected even after vaccination, Ayush-64 can be taken within 7 days of testing RT-PCR positive for SARS CoV-2, in consultation with an Ayush Physician. However, evidence in favor of it has not been elicited through scientific studies.
- Is it safe in pregnant and lactating women?
The safety of Ayush-64 in cases pregnant and lactating women is not established through scientific studies.
- Is Ayush-64 available in the market?
It is available in market and can be purchased from Ayurvedic pharmacies. However, it should be ensured that, it should not be used as an over the counter prescription (OTC) and shall only be used under the supervision of Ayurvedic physicians.
- What guidelines should I follow while taking Ayush-64?
There are no special precautions to be followed while using Ayush-64. However, one must follow all the COVID-19 related guidelines given by Ministry of Ayush and Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, Government of India.