Covid-19 Factcheck

Ashwagandha can help cure COVID-19

Claim: DAILAB @ IIT Delhi’s claimed that Ashwagandha can help cure COVID-19

A collaborative research study by DAILAB @ IIT Delhi and DAILAB @ AIST (National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology), Japan has recently claimed that they have discovered that Ashwagandha may hold an efficient anti-COVID-19 drug.

DIALAB’s published article can be read here: Ashwagandha takes the lead to be the mother nature’s COVID-19 warrior: Study

The study reported that natural compounds from Ashwagandha and propolis have the potential to be effective anti-COVID-19 drug candidates. The researchers targeted the main SARS-CoV-2’s enzyme for splitting proteins, known as the Main protease or Mpro that plays a key role in mediating viral replication. 

The above claims were picked up by leading national media and the reports are widely being circulated in the social media. Some social media post also claimed that Ashwagandha is beneficial for Covid-19 treatment.

The research paper of the DIALAB’s study has been subsequently published in the Journal of biomolecular structure and dynamic. Full paper can be found in the link below:

The paper concluded that based on the data, although the natural resources of these compounds (Withanone (Wi-N) derived from Ashwagandha and Caffeic acid phenethyl ester (CAPE) from honeybee propolis) are deemed helpful, preparation of quality-controlled extracts to possess high level of Wi-N and CAPE and their experimental validation in the laboratory and clinical studies are warranted. On the other hand, the data may also provide leads for drug-designing/development for the treatment of COVID-19.

Verdict: Inconclusive

While the claim of the research is true, it needs to be further established through clinical trials which are currently not known. There are thousands of researches on Covid-19 treatment and prevention currently ongoing around the world. So this claim of the research is not unique. Some media reports of this claim are mere sensationalisation and do not add up to the study and research publication made so far.

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