Varanasi, April 24 : The Banaras Hindu University (BHU) wants to carry out a clinical trial of immunity-boosting ayurvedic drug 'Fifatrol' to check its efficacy in tackling the deadly COVID-19.
However, the proposal is yet to be approved, official sources said.
According to BHU professor and principal investigator for the proposed project, Dr K N Dwivedi, the plan has been sent to a task force formed by the government for scientific validation of Ayurveda and traditional medicinal formulas through research institutions in tackling COVID-19.
The inter-disciplinary AYUSH Research and Development Task Force has members from the Department of Biotechnology (DBT), Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) and also AYUSH practitioners and others.
The scientists are trying to identify potential preventive therapy and therapeutic approaches from AYUSH systems in different stages of COVID-19 treatment.
The AYUSH ministry had sought suggestions on various therapies, through a notification on March 31.
The ministry asked Ayurveda, Yoga and naturopathy, Unani, Siddha and Homoeopathy (AYUSH) practitioners and institutions to submit their suggestions on various therapies, and has received over 2,000 proposals.
According to experts, "Fifatrol, enriched with immune-enhancing herbs, has been found to be effective in curing major bacterial infections such as staphylococcus species that causes fever, cough and cold, and skin diseases among others.
AIMIL Pharmaceuticals, the company that produces Fifatrol, said that drug is used to treat flu and viral infections of upper respiratory tract.
But this is for the first time that experts have decided to determine if it can be helpful in combating the novel coronavirus.
Dr Dwivedi, who is the head of the Department of Dravyaguna at BHU, said Fifatrol is given to patients with symptoms similar to COVID-19.
"We are now trying to evaluate this drug on critically-ill COVID-19 patients to check if it can help reduce mortality," he said.
He said that during a trial on dengue patients at AIIMS, Bhopal, the drug was found to have increased platelet count significantly.
The study also established that Fifatrol can strengthen the liver with no systemic side effects. Fifatrol is an anti-microbial solution prepared from 13 key herbs including sudarshan vati, sanjeevani vati, godanti bhasma, tribhuvan kirti ras and mrityunjay ras, tulsi, kutki, chirayata, motha and giloy.