The Tamil Nadu government has claimed that some Siddha treatments have ensured 100% recovery from the coronavirus, NDTV reported on Wednesday. Siddha is an ancient way of treatment originating in Tamil Nadu. Though there is “no empirical verification”, a state minister claimed that there was 100% success.

Tamil Nadu is currently the third most-affected region in India. Till Wednesday morning, the state had recorded 64,603 cases of the coronavirus. This included 28,431 active cases, 833 deaths and 35,339 recoveries. India, meanwhile, has so far recorded 4,56,183 cases and 14,476 deaths.

“There is a 100% success rate,” the state’s Development Minister K Pandiarajan said. “We are not endangering lives. Siddha is a trump card for us. We are blending Siddha, Yoga and Ayurveda. There is no empirical verification but there is enough history. People have faith. We are documenting many cases now.”

Pandiarajan added that “Siddha doesn’t have the last mile – ventilator or oxygen support”, and so “allopathy takes over for such cases”. Such cases are less than 3% of the total, he said. Essentially, he meant that the treatment would work for mild cases and not serious ones.

The state government is expanding the use of Siddha treatment at the Ambedkar College at Vyasarpadi in Chennai after reporting that all 25 patients at a facility who received the treatment successfully recovered. Pandiarajan had tweeted on Tuesday that the treatment will begin the next day at the centre in Vyasarpadi, with doctors “guiding the team and excellent facilities for sattvic food, herbal bath and yoga”.

The government had recommended Siddha concoction Kabasura Kudineer as an immunity booster, officials said. “Even the Prime Minister has recommended this as a mark of raising the immunity among the people and we are giving the concoction door to door and people like it,” Pandiarajan added.

‘Siddha not proven through documented studies, trials and results’

However, the scientific community was skeptical and urged caution. “We have nothing against it but the only problem is Siddha is not proven through documented studies, trials and results,” Dr Arthur from Nagapattinam told NDTV. “The treatment is known to involve use of heavy metals leading to kidney issues in the long run. But allopathy goes through trials with animals first, then sick patients and healthy people. That’s why Siddha isn’t accepted internationally.”

Tamil Nadu’s proposal to use Siddha treatment came amid Yoga guru Ramdev’s claims that he had found Ayurvedic preparations to cure the coronavirus. The “medicines” were produced through research by Patanjali Research Institute in Haridwar and National Institute of Medical Sciences in Jaipur. The preparations, named Coronil and Swasari, showed 100% favourable results during clinical trials on affected patients at Patanjali Yogpeeth in Haridwar, he had claimed.

But on Tuesday, the Ministry of Ayurveda, Yoga and Naturopathy, Unani, Siddha and Homoeopathy, or AYUSH, asked the company to stop advertising about the preparations as a cure.

There is no scientific evidence of alternative cures for the coronavirus. Efforts are being made worldwide to find a vaccine for the disease, with a few inoculation candidates progressing to the human trial stage.

On June 16, researchers in the United Kingdom achieved a breakthrough when they discovered that the drug dexamethasone cuts the risk of death for coronavirus patients on ventilators by 33%. The drug also reduces deaths of patients on oxygen support by 20%, the researchers found.