Does Ashwagandha help boost COVID-19 vaccine response?
Pune: A study protocol that was taken up to understand the potential of Ashwagandha, which is seen as a traditional ayurvedic herbal drug for boosting immunity to improving Covid-19 vaccine response, was published in a prominent clinical research journal recently. It is seen as a landmark global recognition for Ayurveda and modern medicine integrative research, reports the Indian...
Pune: A study protocol that was taken up to understand the potential of Ashwagandha, which is seen as a traditional ayurvedic herbal drug for boosting immunity to improving Covid-19 vaccine response, was published in a prominent clinical research journal recently.
It is seen as a landmark global recognition for Ayurveda and modern medicine integrative research, reports the Indian Express. Scientists are reported to be elated over the publication of the study protocol in a high ranking clinical research journal.
The study is funded by the Central Council for Research in Ayurvedic Sciences (CCRAS) and the Ministry of AYUSH, Government of India.
According to Rajesh Kotecha, Secretary, Ministry of AYUSH, the study undertakes a novel approach and the scientific community is eager to explore the impact on the current vaccination programme by improving immunogenicity and protection with simple and safe intervention.
The Ministry of AYUSH and its research wing (CCRAS) had launched a drug trial to test the hypothesis of better efficacy with a combination of vaccine (Covishield) and Ashwagandha in several clinical centres across Pune, Mumbai, Nagpur, Delhi and Jaipur, among other cities.
After getting vaccinated with Covishield, healthy volunteers will be checked by expert physicians and randomised to receive either vaccine or vaccine plus Ashwagandha in this 1500 sample size prospective, double-blind, parallel-group, placebo-controlled and two-arm study.
Dr Arvind Chopra, director of the Centre for Rheumatic Diseases, Pune, who has authored several research protocols for completed Ayurveda drug trials in Covid-19 and is the first author of the study said, "The main outcome measure is early and persistent long-term immunogenicity as measured by SARS-CoV-2 spike (S1) and RBD-specific IgG antibody titres. Several other measures include safety, breakthrough infections, quality of life and cellular immune memory cell responses. Efficacy and safety will be assessed at several time points during this 24-week study, which can be extended up to 48 weeks in case of early success with the Ashwagandha-Covishield combination."
The study researchers said that the publication of study protocols ensures greater transparency in the research process.
Prof Bhushan Patwardhan, national AYUSH research professor and chair of AYUSH Covid task force, a senior author who carried out the research along with a team at Pune university on Ashwagandha told the Indian Express, "Ashwagandha is a time-honoured traditional Ayurvedic herbal drug for boosting immunity and restoring deranged immune response, which characterises several autoimmune and infectious diseases including Covid-19. Host immunity is pivotal for prevention and recovery…,"
The medical dialogues team had earlier reported about a study conducted by the Ayush ministry in collaboration with the UK's London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine on Ashwagandha for promoting recovery from Covid-19.
Revu is currently pursuing her masters from University of Hyderabad. With a background in journalism, she joined Medical Dialogues in 2021.