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Siddha medicine to cure coronavirus?

Coronavirus, Wuhan Image ID: 108296823 (L)
The epicentre of the coronavirus outbreak was Wuhan, China. An alternative medicine practitioner has claimed to have come up with a cure for the novel coronavirus using siddha medicine. 

As Chinese authorities outline treatment regimens to treat the novel coronavirus and the global push for a cure is underway, a Tamil Nadu-based practitioner of alternative medicine claims to have found a cure in the form of siddha medicine. 

“We have formulated medicine from an extract of herbs,” claims Thanikasalam Veni. “It is very effective to cure any type of viral fever. Coronavirus has no medicine. In China’s Wuhan where coronavirus has claimed over fifty lives [the death toll currently stands at 106], experts have no idea how to cure the disease.”

Veni, of the Rathna Siddha Hospital in Tamil Nadu state capital Chennai, reportedly has 25 years of experience in Ayuvedic and siddha medicine. He claims previous success in treating diseases such as dengue fever, stating “when we treated the dengue virus with our medicine, many patients with reduced platelets count, acute liver failure, immunity deficiency and low white blood cell (WBC) [count] were cured within 24-40 hours.” 

Claiming “in coronavirus too I am confident our medicine will be very effective,” Veni went on to offer his services to authorities. “If the Centre and state government require then I am ready with medicine,” he said. “Also, if China wants my contribution I am ready to fly immediately to Wuhan with my medicine which can cure coronavirus.” He also appealed to the World Health Organization (WHO), expounding “we want to tell the WHO…that our medicine is very effective in treating multi-organ failure in corona fever condition.” 

Coronavirus has sparked panic worldwide, with in excess of 4,000 infections reported and more than 100 fatalities confirmed. Cases have been reported in countries outside of China, including Nepal which has prompted Indian authorities to upstep vigilance at border checkpoints in areas which share a border with the country. Other nations with confirmed cases of the novel coronavirus include Australia, Canada, Cambodia, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Japan, Macau, Singapore, Sri Lanka, South Korea, the United States, and Vietnam.

Siddha medicine falls under the umbrella of AYUSH, which also encompasses Ayurveda, yoga, naturopathy, unani, and homoeopathy. It is regarded as one of the oldest systems of medicine in India. However, the efficacy of such systems of medicine – including siddha medicine – are disputed by allopathic practitioners and the scientific community. 

As Britannica notes, “siddha medicine has been used for the management of chronic diseases and degenerative conditions, such as rheumatoid arthritis, autoimmune conditions, collagen disorders, and conditions of the central nervous system. Its effectiveness in those situations has varied.” Past examples of alternative medicine practitioners claiming to wield the cures for diseases such as cancer with little to no scientific foundation for such assertions have been met with substantial criticism. As such, claims concerning the potential for siddha medicine products to be able to cure novel coronavirus are likely to be met with similar suspicion.

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