Can a nosode prepared from SARS-CoV-2 or Novel Corona Virus -19 be a suitable homeopathic protector of Covid-19 disease?: Conventional vaccines versus homeopathic nosodes
In this paper Prof. Anisur Rahman Khuda-Bukhsh very beautifully pens down the challenges in development of Corona Nosode and its utilization in the prevention and treatment of Covid-19 disease.
Nosodes are a kind of homeopathically prepared product made from diseased human or animal tissues or discharges1, 2. The proposition going around by a section of homeopathic doctors and believers is whether a nosode prepared either from a Covid-19 patient or from deactivated virus or part of virus could be successfully used as a prophylactic or curative drug for this viral disease, currently causing a huge number of deaths all over the world. In other words, could the nosode be successfully used as a “homeopathic vaccine” or a drug that can successfully treat the disease after a person tests positive for its infection or to recuperate the infected patient towards full recovery? The emergence of such a proposition possibly owes its origin to a great concern and anxiety for saving human miseries and lives in this pandemic era by adopting any suitable means, starting from the treaded path of vaccination to unconventional or unexplored regimen, like developent of a nosode at the earliest opportunity and trying to utilize it in the prevention and treatment of Covid-19 disease.
Every believer of Hahnemannian homeopathy knows that homeopathy stands on the basic tenet- “like cures like” or “simlus similibus curentur”. One has to accept that homeopathic medicines are primarily chosen for treating symptoms of a disease holistically on the basis of similia and generally not per se advised to be used as preventive or prophylactic drug against a disease 3 in advance, unless expressly needed in an unusual situation of epidemic or pandemic; that too should be done by some tested homeopathic drugs used successfully in earlier occasions of similar kind of pandemic. In this critical pandemic situation, therefore, a homeopathy lover will also be equally passionate about developing a drug that can be used as a prophylatic or preventive along with its subsequent possible use in curing the disease when prevention fails.
In severe epidemic or pandemic situation, people would primarily seek to prevent being attacked by the causal organism, particularly the virus, bacteria, or protozoan that is known to cause a serious disease, pushing them towards the risk of even death. In modern science or conventional medicine, suitable and specific “vaccines” are searched for and after stringent tests for assessment of their risk factors, safety norms and efficacy, “effective vaccines” for many life theatening diseases have been developed and made available to mankind; in this way, many serious diseases of microbe origin have been successfully tackled in the past 4, 5, 6, 7.
In various earlier epidemics also, mostly some individual homeopathic remedies like Belladonna, Bryonia Album, Arsenicum Album, Calcarea carb, Chelidonium Majus or various homeopathic compexes comprising several homeopathic remedies, and also some nosodes like Influenzinum, Tuberculinum, Bacillinum etc were found to be very effective against a particular disease and they had shown their ability to either resist the disease agents from attacking or were able to cure the disease in the overwhelming majority of cases 8, 9, 10. If any one remedy was found to be most effective in preventing or curing the majority of cases of a particular disease, as based on their holistic approach in consideration of the guiding symptoms, that would be accepted as “genus epidemicus” serving to some extent as “homeopathic vaccines” as well. Then the issue arises if any particular homeopathoic medicine has the ability to develop or boost natural immunity, and if it really can, how can it be experimentally demonstrated and verified? Could the mechanism and pathways of action be deciphered and demonstrated convincingy? Thus to claim any drug to be associated with or to be able to trigger development of immunity, it would need to obtain repeatable results in well designed controlled animal experiments and by achieving convincing results in different phases of human trial and also to prove its absolute safety and efficacy in providing sufficient resistance to combat infection of the disease causing agent(s). The task is much more difficult than anticipated in case of attempting to prepare a nosode from such a deadly virus, because it has the ability to rapidly undergo change through mutations. Already multipe strains (now more than twenty known) have been produced in different countries and they are endowed with the ability to adapt to different kinds of environmental conditions, ranging from temperate and cold countries to hot and humid countries and also in desert conditions. Further, not all strains of Corona virus are showing equal degree of virulence and phenotypic expression of various symtoms has been found to vary highly in different subjects. While some of the victims are showing extremely dangerous infection of lung and subsequently affecting heart, kidney and brain as well, some other Corona poisitive subjects are showing no symptoms or remain totally asymptomatic! One has to decide if the subjects showing no symptoms are really immunolgically so strong that they could overpower the virus and are free of their harmful attack, or is it because they have really been attacked by rather weak or non-virulent strains! Now another question arises as to why the asymptomatic Corona positive subjects can spread the disease when the virus from the same person is transmitted to other recipients. Then the question again can be asked if the non-virulent forms can rapidly acquire virulence depending on the nature of the host being an immuno-compromised or a physiologically weak subject? Many new things are emerging at present from the knowledge of handling this virus in different countries and for this, there is much difficulty in discovering a particular vaccine that can provide foolproof efficacy and at the same time will be fully safe for human use.
Further, “natural immunity” is believed to be better than “vaccine-acquired immunity”, for which there is a strong view going around in some advanced countries against vaccination, and also because “vaccination” itself can show in some subjects adverse effects. While natural immunity is known to develop generally when someone builds natural resistance to a disease after getting sick and recovering from it, what vaccines are expected to do is to produce vaccine-induced immunity, which occurs when a resistance to a disease is induced without having the actual illness. Although some nosodes have earlier been occassionally used successfully as homeopathic prophylaxis against some serious infectious diseases8 by homeopaths, this kind of use is still unacceptable to a large part of homeopaths, particularly those believing in classical homeopathy or followers of Hahnemannian homeopathy 3. To those homeopaths, homeopathy should always be used based on some guiding symptoms; Some views hold that in such a pandemic condition, there is always scope for use of some tested homeopathic drugs already there in the Materia Medica (strengthened with “proving”) which can more judiciously be used than jumping on to a newly developed drug with unknown effects in respect of safety and efficacy, particularly against such a notoriously deadly virus like SARS-CoV-2, at a time when the virus is violently spreading and causing immense human casualties.
All said and done, there are some critical considerations that would be expressly needed before a Covid 19 nosode preparation can get underway under permission from the regulatory authority. Nosode preparation can only be entrusted to technically qualified and properly trained personnel with adequate qualifications and experience and it should only be prepared in a proper laboratory equipped with the right kind of infructure and safety measures. Because of the deadly nature of the virus, extreme precaution should be taken while handling them. The next part is the determination of the right kind of source material from which the nosode has to be prepared. Should it be from the whole or part or subunits of the virus proper or should it be collected from infected humans? In the latter case, it has to be decided from which part (mucous, swab or infected lung oozing) the material for preparation can be collected? Will materials from a corona positive asymptomatic person be able to serve as the source for nosode preparation? Or should serum of a person infected and later cured can serve as the right material for the nosode preparation? There are such questions that make the issue complicated and a subject of trials and error. Another issue exists because the virus has multiple known strains with variable degree of virulence, which one to choose for the right material? These are also some of the problems confronting those who are toiling hard to get an effective vaccine too, and the failure to provide the right kind of vaccine so far can largely be attributed to the rapidly changing nature of the virus; it needs extensive trials to determine the right combination of strategies to get the desired results.
And the problem doesn’t end there. The next step is to prove efficacy and draw up safety standard of the new nosode by arranging for extensive human “proving” after adequate animal experimentation. Therefore, it would take very long time, if at all, if it can successfully pass on every required test in this regard. In the meanwhile, the use of Ars Alb 30 recommended by AYUSH after some positive results obtained in pilot studies can be adhered to till more authentic studies and their results accumulate to verify (or refute) the success of its use as an effective prophylactic or curative drug, or till the right kind of vaccine is discovered or such venture as developing Corona nosode can get materialized and proven successful in combating Covid 19 disease is duly formuated and is available in the market after receiving the nod from the regulatory bodies towards its use in this pandemic. In fact, from our earlier experience, we know that failure of adherence to all justified protocol norms in using nosodes resulted in abrupt withdrawal of such use as homeopaths were debarred from using by law in several countries like Canada, Australia and UK 11,12, 13 with the position statement of UK Society reading “The society does not endorse the use of homeopathic medicines as an alternative to vaccination for the prevention of serious infectious diseases” though they may be effective in certain other circumstances 14, 15.
- Allen HC. Materia medica of the nosodes. (1988). Reprinted ed. New Delhi: B Jain Publishers; 1988. ?
- Nayak D, Varanasi R. Homoeopathic nosodes, a neglected approach for epidemics: A critical review. (2020). Indian J Res Homoeopathy 2020;14:129-35. ?
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https://www.researchgate.net/publication/304607556_Homeoprophylaxis_The_Great_Misunderstanding [accessed Jul 07 2020]. ? ?
- *United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (2011). A CDC framework for preventing infectious diseases. Archived 2017-08-29 at the Wayback Machine ,Accessed 7th July, 2020.. ?
- United States National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID). NIAID Biodefense Research Agenda for Category B and C Priority Pathogens. Archived2016-03-04 at the Wayback Machine , Accessed 7th July, 2020.. ?
- Fiore AE, Bridges CB, Cox NJ (2009). Seasonal influenza vaccines. Curr. Top. Microbiol. Immunol. Current Topics in Microbiology and Immunology. 333. pp. 43–82. doi:10.1007/978-3-540-92165-3_3. ISBN 978-3-540-92164-6. PMID 19768400 ?
- World Health Organization, Global Vaccine Action Plan 2011-2020. (2014). Archived 2014-04-14 at the Wayback Machine Geneva, 2012 ?
- Bala R, Srivastava A. (2020). Historical journey of homoeopathy during epidemic diseases in the light of 2019 novel coronavirus pandemic. International Journal of Science & Healthcare Research. 2020; 5(2): 215-233. ? ?
- Rajan A, Bagai U. (2013). Antimalarial potential of China 30C and Chelidonium 30C in combination therapy against lethal rodent malaria parasite: Plasmodium berghei. J Complement Integr Med. 2013; 10(1):1-8. ?
- Bagai U, Walter NS. (2014). Antiplasmodial Potential of Homeopathic Drugs Chelidonium and Nosode Against Plasmodium Berghei Infection. J Complement Integr Med. 2014; 11(3):195- 201. ?
- BBC News.(2010). 13 September 2010.Retrieved on 7th July, 2020. ?
- “Vaccine alternatives offered by homeopaths ‘irresponsible'”.(2014). CBC. 28 November 2014. Retrieved 7th July, 2020. ?
- “Court finds Homeopathy Plus! vaccine claims misleading”. (2014). Australian Competition & Consumer Commission. 23 December 2014. Retrieved 7th July, 2020. ?
- Khuda-Bukhsh AR, Mondal J, Shah R. (2017). Therapeutic potential of HIV nosode 30c as evaluated in A549 lung cancer cells. Homeopathy. 2017 Nov;106(4):203-213. doi: 10.1016/j.homp.2017.09.001. Epub 2017 Oct 12. PMID: 29157470 ?
- Mondal J, Das J, Shah R, Khuda-Bukhsh AR. (2016). A homeopathic nosode, Hepatitis C 30 demonstrates anticancer effect against liver cancer cells in vitro by modulating telomerase and topoisomerase II activities as also by promoting apoptosis via intrinsic mitochondrial pathway. J Integr Med. 2016 May;14(3):209-18. doi: 10.1016/S2095-4964(16)60251-0. PMID: 27181128 ?