ICMR rejects Jal Shakti Ministry’s proposal to treat COVID-19 patients using Ganga water

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If US President Donald Trump famously suggested injecting disinfectant to treat COVID-19 patients, the Jal Shakti Ministry of the Indian government has reportedly suggested undertaking clinical studies for the treatment of COVID-19 patients with Ganga water. However, before this could become a frightening reality, the Indian Council for Medical Research (ICMR) has intervened to reject the idea saying that the suggestion by the ministry headed by Gajendra Singh Shekhawat needs more scientific data.

According to news agency PTI, Dr YK Gupta, who chairs the committee for Evaluation of Research Proposals at ICMR, said that the evidence and data available at the moment were not strong enough to start the clinical studies by different routes/forms of Ganga water for the treatment of coronavirus.

The Jal Shakti Ministry had reportedly sent several proposals to the ICMR on 28 April on the need to undertake clinical trials of Ganga water with a view to treating coronavirus patients.

Gupta, who is also a former dean of the AIIMS, was quoted as saying, “At present the proposals need much scientific data, proof of concept and a strong background hypothesis. This has been conveyed to them (NMCG).”

Scientists world over are busy investing vaccines to combat the deadly virus that has claimed over two lakh deaths across the globe. The Oxford University in England had undertaken a clinical trial of the vaccine developed by the university’s Jenner Institute last week with hundreds of people volunteering to be part of the study that has received £20 million ($24.7 million, 22.6 million euros) in government funding.

In India, authorities are experimenting with plasma therapy, which entails transfusion of blood plasma from patients, who’ve recently recovered from coronavirus to those who are critically ill. It’s, however, not established whether this therapy can ensure 100 percent cure to patients, who are critically ill after contracting the virus.

Meanwhile, the number of coronavirus deaths across India climbed to 1,783 with positive cases exceeding 50,000-mark. Maharashtra and Gujarat remain the two worst-affected states with 651 and 396 fatalities respectively.

Madhya Pradesh with 185 deaths and West Bengal with 144 deaths remain the other two significantly worse Indian states.

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