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Full Version: Promotion of Covid-19 pseudoscience by Indian government criticised as pandemic rages
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EXCERPTS: A raging Covid-19 outbreak in India has not hampered the promotion of some questionable science by the government, drawing the ire of some of the country’s scientists. One example is the Indian science ministry’s funding of an Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) trial on whether reciting an ancient Hindu prayer, Gayatri Mantra, along with a set of deep breathing exercises in yoga could improve treatment of Covid-19 patients.

[...] Scientists have also criticised the small sample size – just 20 volunteers. It is ‘too small a number for arriving at any inference, especially because we are still unclear about the rather large variability of Covid-19 symptoms during the disease and during recovery’, says Subhash Lakhotia...

‘A greater worry [with] such directed research is the pre-existing bias,’ says Lakhotia. Previous studies undertaken to ‘validate the claimed benefits of chanting Gayatri Mantra too suffered from a similar absence of rational planning. Such improperly planned studies are indeed typical of pseudoscience,’ he says.

[...] In February 2021, India’s science and health minister Harsh Vardhan, himself a doctor and surgeon, was present at the launch of a ‘Coronil’ kit, containing three herbal medicines, which is claimed to boost immunity. It was formulated by self-styled ‘godman’ Baba Ramdev’s company Patanjali. Ramdev initially claimed Coronil was certified by India’s drug regulator and the World Health Organization (WHO). The WHO quickly clarified on Twitter that it ‘has not reviewed or certified any traditional medicine for the treatment [of] #Covid-19’.

The Indian Medical Association described the claims that Coronil could be used in prevention, treatment and post-Covid care as a ‘false and fabricated projection’ of ‘an unscientific medicine’.

‘In recent times we are witnessing a trend where governmental agencies offer funding to “scientifically validate” personal beliefs,’ says Soumitro Banerjee [...] The BSS condemns financial support for ‘ill-conceived research projects when mainstream science is suffering due to the lack of funding’, he adds. (MORE - details)
Perhaps a swim in the Ganges would work since even the virus might not be able to survive the plunge.