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Clinical trials for Ayurveda-based drug for dengue, jointly being carried out by the Indian Council of Medical Research and the Ministry of AYUSH, are in the "advanced stages" and presently its clinical safety and efficacy is being tested, senior officials today said. Central Council for Research in Ayurvedic Sciences (CCRAS), an autonomous body under the Ministry of AYUSH and ICMR's regional research centre in Belgaum in Karnataka are carrying out the trials. "Clinical trials on dengue drug are in advanced stages. CCRAS and ICMR are conducting it in Belgaum to test the clinical safety and efficacy.
The drug had earlier been standarised and after we got positive leads on it last year, we decided to go for the trials," Joint Secretary, AYUSH Ministry, A K Ganeriwala, said. He said, if thing go as planned, the "drug should be out by next dengue season." Director General of ICMR Soumya Swaminathan said, "our partnership in the trials would mean that the claims of efficacy of Ayurveda drugs would be validated scientifically." "The advanced stages of the trials began few weeks ago at our research facility in Begaum," she said. Asked if any similar trials could be done for chikungunya, she said, "it could be taken up". Ganeriwala said the trials had begun almost a year ago and went through various stages. A senior official at AYUSH Ministry said, "In ancient texts like 'Charak Sanhita', the concept of 'jwara (fever) and its cure has been mentioned, though dengue or chikungunya doesn't find a mention, as the nomenclature came up in last several decades. "But, since, the treatment of these diseases are symptomatic, the trials have helped assess the efficacy of the drug. ICMR association means that the impact of drug on patients would be scientifically validated and put through a rigorous scrutiny. And, once it is done, then we can think of transferring the technology to commercial entities," he said. Currently there is no drug for dengue in India. At least 21 deaths due to dengue have been reported at various hospitals in Delhi, including nine at AIIMS, while over 3,000 people have been afflicted by the vector-borne disease in the national capital. According to National Vector Borne Disease Control Programme (NVBDCP), 51,731 dengue cases have been reported till October 2 across the county, and 93 people have died due to it.
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