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Indian government slammed for recommending homeopathy for coronavirus prevention

TORONTO — India’s government has been roundly criticized for recommending homeopathy to prevent coronavirus infection.

The government’s Twitter account posted a coronavirus advisory on Wednesday, Jan 29., recommending popular alternative medicines for the prevention and management of the lethal new virus.

Homeopathy, Unani and Ayurveda are all alternative medical practices popular in India, but have not undergone clinical trials and their efficacy has not been scientifically proven. 

Twitter users were swift in their condemnation of the tweet issued by the Ministry of AYUSH (Ayurveda, Yoga and Naturopathy, Unani, Siddha, Sowa Rigpa and Homoeopathy), which has gone viral.

“Official government outlets promoting ‘alternative medicine’ for a currently raging epidemic that has just crossed into the country,“ wrote Shaantanu Singh.

“This, while China builds entire hospitals in a week and combats its second epidemic since SARS.”

Recommendations in the release includes the normal infection prevention measures such as thorough hand-washing, but also includes tips like rubbing herbal oils into the scalp to ease symptoms.

The government guidance includes an array of herbal potions and mixes, a drop of sesame oil in each nostril upon waking and a “light and soft” diet. 

Dr. Misba Hul Bashier tweeted that she had seen “loads of patients developed acute liver and kidney failure due to alternative medicines.”

“Allopathy is ‘evidence based medicine’,” she wrote, “where a particular treatment modality is supported by a plethora of well organized research protocols and any new drug goes through structured phases of clinical trials, clearly outlining the benefits and side effects of a particular drug.

“Please stop misguiding gullible people by giving false hopes.”

Much misinformation has appeared since the outbreak of the new coronavirus in December 2019.

Cristina Tardaguila, from the Poynter Institute for Media Studies in Florida, told CNN more than 50 fact-checking organisations in 30 countries have been dealing with “three waves” of misinformation.

“One regarding the origins of the virus; one about a fake patent, and a third about how to prevent it/cure it,” she told AFP.

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