PIL claims bacteriophages found in Ganga water can treat COVID: Allahabad HC issues notice to Centre, DG-ICMR
Allahabad: The Allahabad High Court issued notices to the Centre and the Director General of the ICMR on Wednesday in a PIL seeking lab research of phage therapy through Ganga water.
The plea sought a laboratory test on the action of the "bacteriophages" found in the water of the Ganga river which, as claimed in the PIL, can treat Covid-19.
Ernest Hackins, a British bacteriologist, found the presence of bacteriophages in the Ganga in 1896 and it was confirmed in studies that their presence does not putrefy or deteriorate the water of the river, rather they kill the pathogens and bacterial infections.
A bench comprising Acting Chief Justice M N Bhandari and Justice Rajendra Kumar passed the order in a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) filed by Arun Kumar Gupta, a senior advocate of the high court.
According to the petitioner, he studied the curative properties of the Ganga and after the outbreak of COVID-19 last year, started searching on the internet for the effect of the water of the river on COVID patients.
After doing the research work, the petitioner prepared a scientific paper titled "Treatment of COVID-19 by Ganga Jal" and e-mailed it to the President on April 26, 2020 and the National Mission for Clean Ganga (NMCG).
The NMCG forwarded it to the Ayush Ministry and the Director General of the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR), but the paper was not considered due to a lack of scientific studies to validate the claim.
The plea stated that the Indian Council for Medical Research(ICMR) took a virtual presentation online and thereafter, through press and media, it was informed to the public that ICMR had rejected the proposal of treatment of Covid-19 patients by Phage-therapy and its clinical Studies.
PTI reports since a clinical study has to be carried out and the clinical data has to be collected by a recognised medical institute, the petitioner approached the doctors of the Institute of Medical Sciences (IMS), Banaras Hindu University (BHU) and Dr Vijay Nath Mishra, a professor in the university's Department of Neurology, agreed for further scientific research and clinical study on the subject and theory.
accordingly he made a team of 5 doctors including himself. Further, Dr. Vijay Nath Mishra and the team conducted the scientific study and collected the clinical data and found that "Phage Treatment of Gangajal is a very Effective Treatment in COVID-19 infection.
Thereafter, on the basis of the same, the team of doctors also prepared a NASAL-SPRAY VACCINE which can be administered through the nose and which kills the coronavirus, the petition mentioned
Since the theory and hypothesis requires the nod and clearance of the institutional ethics committee IMS, BHU, the petitioner requested the doctors of the team for taking the clearance from the Institutional Ethics committee and the same was submitted to the Ethics Committee.
However, the plea submits that the matter is presently pending before the Ethics Committee aforesaid since last 7 months but the Ethics Committee external experts did not give permission for the clinical trial.
As per a recent Live Law report, the petitioner wrote to the president of India and forwarded copies to the Director-General NMCG, Director General, ICMR; to Ayush Ministry and PMO, making the request that the Ethics committee IMS BHU be directed to give the clearance to the proposal of "Efficacy Of Phages Therapy In Covid-19 Infection Through Ganga Water" and also direct to the ICMR and AYUSH Ministry to permit the team of doctors headed by Dr. Vijay Nath Mishra of the Neurology Department for the Clinical Trial of the same.
In his plea, he sought
1. Direction to the Union of India, Ministry of Ayush, Govt. of India, New Delhi and Director General & Indian Council for Medical Research to conduct the lab research through the National Institute of Virology, Pune.
2. Direct the respondents to permit the petitioner's joint group headed by V N Mishra IMS, BHU to get the lab test in any of the places outside India at the expense of the government.
3. Direction to Chairman, Institutional Ethics Committee, Institute of Medical Sciences, Banaras Hindu University to give the clearance to the joint group for the clinical trial of Virophages in the treatment of Corona Virus.
The case will be listed for hearing on the expiry of six weeks.