AIIA, Nisarga join hands to evaluate preventative effect of neem capsules

The All India Institute of Ayurveda, New Delhi, has announced its collaboration with Ayurvedic pharma major Nisarga Biotech Pvt Ltd to study the preventive effect of a proprietary neem extract formulation against the Covid-19.

The study entitled ‘Prophylaxis with Neem Capsules (Azadirachta Indica) in Healthcare Personnel and Relatives in Contact with Covid-19 Patients’ is designed primarily to evaluate preventative effect of the neem capsules developed by the company in subjects coming in contact with Covid-19 patients.

The double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled trial is being carried out at the ESIC Medical College and Hospital, Faridabad, by a team of experts led by Prof (Dr) Tanuja Nesari, Director of AIIA.

Nisarga is the first Indian Ayurveda company to work with AIIA. The formulation will be tested and studied on 250 individuals. This will be a double-blind trial where 125 patients will be provided with the proprietary Neem capsules while the other 125 will be taking blank capsules. The drug will be administered for 28 days followed by the observation period of 28 days before analyzing the effect of the capsules in comparison with the blank ones.

Double blind means neither the doctor nor the patient knows if he/she is taking Neem or blank capsules. So, any bias in evaluation of effect of Neem is eliminated.

“…Nisarga is the first manufacturer to conduct this trial with its own funds in collaboration with India’s apex Ayurveda Hospital and Institute, All India Institute of Ayurveda, which is known for researching Ayurveda in a modern way. Our Neem formulation will prove to be an effective antiviral in preventive use, and we are looking at strategic funding for further research to introduce it as a standard drug,” said Girish Soman, Founder and CEO of Nisarga Biotech Pvt Ltd.

“Neem is a known antiviral plant used in Ayurveda for various diseases like fever, herpes virus and is known to purify blood due to its free radical scavenging properties. Ayurveda has immense contribution in prophylaxis of various diseases. The rationale for selecting Neem formulation is based on prior anti-inflammatory, anti-viral, and antioxidant effects of Neem in pre-clinical studies, as well as molecular docking studies that confirm binding of neem components to viruses,” said Dr Mohini Barde, MD and Medical Director for the trial.

The study will assess its clinical effect for prevention of Covid-19 in front line medical and non-medical staff at ESIC Hospital Faridabad. The standardised extract made by Nisarga is also being researched by them in collaboration with a US-based University of Texas San Antonio at the cancer research center. This trial may lead to an affordable treatment option now that we are talking of learning to live with Covid-19, he said.

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