Union minister Shripad Y Naik on Thursday said India is working on four traditional medicine formulations to treat the coronavirus, adding that the trials will start within a week. Naik is the minister of AYUSH or ayurveda, yoga and naturopathy, unani, siddha and homeopathy. It is the country’s indigenous medicine ministry.

With no other approved treatment for Covid-19, the respiratory illness caused by the novel coronavirus, doctors around the world are trying a mix of solutions that might alter the course of the disease.

“The Ministry of Ayush and the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research are working together on validating four Ayush formulations against Covid-19 pandemic and the trials will start within one week,” Naik tweeted. “These formulations will be tried as an add-on therapy and standard care for Covid-19 patients.”

The minister added that he is quite hopeful that traditional medicinal system will find a way to cure the infection.

On Wednesday, the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research Director-General Shekhar Mande and AYUSH secretary Vaidya Rajesh Kotecha said the results of the trials will come within three months, ANI reported. “Last week, Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan announced that CSIR and AYUSH will work together on four different formulations,” Mande said.

Meanwhile, Kotecha said that the AYUSH and CSIR collaboration has a larger perspective. “This is once in a lifetime opportunity,” he added. “This type of study never happened in our country. These four candidates are Ashwagandha, Yashtimadhu [Mulethi], Guduchi + Pippali [Giloy] and AYUSH-64, which was invented for the treatment of malaria and its repurposing is going on.”

“So, we are doing two types of stimulus studies as profile access on the high-risk population for Ashwagandha,” Kotecha said. “We have also planned a competitive study between Hydroxychloroquine and Ashwagandha.”

The AYUSH secretary added that these four formulations will be tried as an add-on therapy and standard care for the coronavirus patients. “It is a clinical study multi-centric on different parts of the country and variable design,” Kotecha said. “For example, this clinical study is for the protocol. We have formed the taskforce and have prepared guideline for the clinical trial. Some of the best scientists of the country from the medical field, from CSIR and others, also reviewed this.”

Mande said that the Ayurveda is based on thousands of years of clinical practices that have been followed. “So, we trust Ayurveda,” he added. “We are not able to show the mechanism of action like modern medicine does. Ayurvedic practices have existed much before modern medicine practices come. Therefore, it is important that we validate some of the Ayurvedic principles. So, the time is absolutely right that in the fight against coronavirus. We try some of the Ayurvedic formulations against coronavirus.”

More than 100 potential Covid-19 candidate vaccines are now under development by biotech and research teams around the world, and at least six of these are in preliminary testing in people in what is known as Phase 1 clinical trials.

So far, India has recorded 78,003 coronavirus cases and 2,549 fatalities. Prime Minister Narendra Modi has said the lockdown would be extended beyond May 17 with a new set of rules.

Follow today’s updates on the pandemic here.