Massive crowd for COVID ‘herbal medicine’ in Andhra after MP urged distribution

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Distribution resumed after a few days of hiatus with the support of YSRCP MPP Kakani Govardhan Reddy.

Thousands of people, including critical COVID-19 patients in ambulances, lined up in the Krishnapatnam town of Nellore in Andhra Pradesh on the morning of May 21, awaiting the distribution of a “drug” made from the drug. plants for COVID-19 recovery. The herbal concoctions were distributed free of charge in the name of Ayurvedic treatment for COVID-19 for nearly a month, before district authorities ordered the distribution to stop temporarily. However, the distribution program resumed on Friday at the request of Sarvepalli Constituency YSRCP MP Kakani Govardhan Reddy. MLA said distribution has resumed as people become restless while waiting for the herbal preparations, which are made and distributed by a man named Bonigi Anandiah, although district authorities have yet to give permission. .

The widespread popularity of its “treatment” among people who believe it is a “cure” for COVID-19 has posed a double challenge to authorities. Besides the criticism from doctors and rationalists regarding Anandaiah’s claims to “cure” COVID-19 patients with the herbal preparations, which include eye drops (recommended by Anandaiah for people with low levels of blood oxygen drop), the treatment also led to large gatherings (including COVID-19 patients) without following the COVID-19 protocol. Before stopping treatment earlier this week, around 4,000 to 5,000 people gathered at the distribution site every day.

MP Govardhan Reddy said district officials were awaiting lab reports before deciding on permissions for Anandaiah’s treatment. “Since they will have to take responsibility in the event of an incident, they wanted to be careful. But thousands of people are agitated so we allowed the distribution for a day. Either way, it will take two or three days to re-prepare the concoctions. In the meantime, the necessary authorizations will be taken, ”he said. Meanwhile, another location will be set up for better crowd management, and distribution will be limited to around 500 to 1,000 people per day, he said. “Today nearly ten thousand people have arrived, including people from other states. We need to create awareness about the protocols, but crowd management has been very difficult because it is believed that this treatment saves lives, ”he said.

Noting that patients in ambulances also lined up for Anandaiah’s treatment, the MP said it was one of many COVID-19 treatments under consideration. “Ayurveda is one type of alternative treatment, not the only one. Since some people see good results, we have introduced it. Once more people have developed trust, we’ll see how we can spread it. We must also be careful … If there are side effects, we do not know the remedy. We will also look at any harmful effects, ”he said, adding that the process primarily involves faith.

Earlier this week, on instructions from Andhra Pradesh Lokayukta, Nellore KVN collector Chakradhar Babu tasked a team of district medical and tax officials, as well as Ayurvedic medicine practitioners, to investigate the distribution of herbal preparations by Anandaiah. Samples of the herbal preparation were sent to the Ayurvedic Laboratory in Vijayawada State for analysis, and in the meantime, Anandaiah was instructed not to distribute his preparations unless authorized by a government agency. .

According to the investigation report submitted by district officials, including the district medical officer of health (DMHO), to the collector in Nellore, Anandaiah had been distributing the preparations as a COVID-19 treatment for almost a month, starting April 21. (the occasion of Ram Navami) with a small number of visitors. On May 17, around 4,000 to 5,000 people gathered for treatment every day, officials said.

Anandaiah claimed to have learned from various practitioners of Ayurvedic and Siddha medicine, according to the report. He was handing out five different preparations made from various herbs and spices – three were specifically aimed at those who had tested positive for the coronavirus, one was for everyone and one was eye drops that he said would help patients with their oxygen levels in the blood. Ayurvedic doctors who were part of the investigation argued that Anandiah was not a qualified practitioner of Ayurvedic medicine and that his formulations were not standard recipes. Its ingredients were ordinary herbs, and its preparation method and dosages were substandard, they said, adding that the eye drops could prove to be harmful in the long run.

MLA Kakani Govardhan Reddy and Anandaiah distributing the preparations

The treatment gained popularity among the public, and district officials noted that the public had not given any negative feedback on the treatment. In their report, Ayurvedic doctors also said they saw in person increase a patient’s low oxygen saturation levels. However, it cannot be confirmed that this is due to the eye drops, they said. Ayurvedic doctors have even recommended that Anandiah’s preparations go through a “fair clinical trial” to prove their effectiveness. “We are of the opinion that the drug can be the subject of a fair clinical trial in quarantines and Covid care centers for two to three weeks under the supervision of Ayurvedic doctors without other drugs,” they said in their report to the collector.

Ayush district doctors even took Anandaiah to the Nellore government general hospital on Wednesday to try and treat patients with COVID-19, according to reports. However, this met with opposition from GGH doctors. “As the medical specialists believed that the ingredients had no side effects, after consulting the DMHO, we went to the government hospital to try to administer it to a few patients. But since these preparations are not made. in accordance with GMP (good manufacturing practices) and other regulations, the doctors said they could not allow it, ”said Srinivas, chief medical officer of Ayush district.

Watch: Distribution of herbal preparations for COVID-19 in Nellore



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