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Conventional perception and in the present day’s science

A fortnight in the past, the union minister in control of the Nationwide Mission for Clear Ganga approached the Indian Council for Medical Analysis (ICMR) to conduct analysis on using Ganga river water (Ganga Jal) as a treatment to the coronavirus (COVID-19) virus an infection. The ICMR identified that the information out there on this work should not sturdy sufficient to begin any medical trials, and politely declined — touché.

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River Ganga is regarded by hundreds of thousands of individuals because the holiest and most sacred amongst all of the rivers of the world. Ranging from the Gangotri glacier at Gaumukh within the Himalayas (3.9 km or 13,000 toes above sea stage), it gathers water from a number of streams on the best way to grow to be River Ganga at Devaprayag close to Haridwar within the Uttarakhand state. It flows all the best way to the Bay of Bengal 2,525 km, with river basins throughout all of the northern Indian flatlands similar to Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Jharkhand and West Bengal. Individuals (principally Hindu, however some others too) all throughout its course worship it, bathe in it, take its water house for pooja and associated functions (I noticed it being bought overseas as effectively, for instance, in Indian retailers in California). Such is the idea and reverence for Ganga Mata.

The Sacred and the profane

Sadly, within the Haridwar area itself, air pollution of its water has been occurring for hundreds of years — largely by human waste disposal and a few industrial air pollution as effectively. R. Bhutania and colleagues have revealed a paper titled: “Assessment of Ganga River Ecosystem at Haridwar, Uttarakhand, India, with reference to Water Quality Index” within the journal Utilized Water Science, 6, 107-118 (2016), <hyperlink.springer.com/content material/pdf/10.1007/s13201-014-0206-6.pdf>, which isn’t in any respect a cheerful studying. And the latest contamination research of river Ganga water has appeared within the December 23, 2019 situation of the New York Instances <nytimes.com/2019/12/23/well being/ganges-drug-resistant-bacteria.html>. This research summarises the continued evaluation (by a gaggle of researchers on the IIT Delhi) of the air pollution, and the presence of harmful micro organism within the water, that are immune to the at present used antibiotic medication. In different phrases, proper the place it begins to move into the nation, Ganga Jal is dangerous for human and animal well being. Because it flows downstream, industrial wastes from factories are additional dumped, making its water high quality and security even worse. Certainly, a current report from the holy metropolis of Varanasi says that the present lockdown interval has helped the river’s water high quality enhance by 40-50% (India Right this moment, April 6, 2020).

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How have we allowed this profanity? Certainly, numerous people who use Ganga water are believers; even many heads of the varied business teams nonetheless maintain Ganga as sacred, and even provide pooja utilizing its water sometimes, and but go forward and pollute it. [It is important to note here that the word ‘profane’ is not necessarily a denial of belief, but refers to mundane individual concerns, and not ‘good versus evil’, or ‘God versus Satan’]. It’s a ‘what is in there for me’ perspective, which is ethically (even perhaps morally) mistaken. Given this dichotomy, Ganga Mata doesn’t seem to have a protected and clear future.

Be taught from dolphins, gharials

Getting again to science, given this abundance of toxic germs (and dangerous chemical wastes), one wonders how the 140 fish species, 90 amphibians, reptiles, birds, and the well-known Ganges river dolphins and the gharials (fish consuming crocodiles) address the situations within the water, significantly, since it is usually polluted now by COVID-19. Have they got particular immunity, and do they generate antibodies to struggle in opposition to such pathogens? This is a matter that must be studied with care and tailored for human defence in opposition to coronaviruses.

Some fascinating insights have come about from some current immunity research displayed by uncommon animals similar to llamas, camels and sharks. Mitch Leslie writes within the Might 1, 2020 situation of Science: “Biologists invent a new way to fight viruses with llama blood and molecular superglue”. Miniature antibodies are seen to be pumped out by the immune cells of llamas, camels and sharks, that are about half the dimensions of ordinary antibodies. The principle message right here is that these animals generate mini-antibodies, which will be simply synthesised in biology labs and used as weapons to win over viral an infection. An in depth paper on how this may be completed has simply been revealed within the journal Cell (see: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.cell.2020.04.031 ). Extra related to the dolphins is a paper by C. Centellege and coworkers,: “Insights into dolphins’ immunology: Immuno-phenotypic study on Mediterranean and Atlantic stranded cetaceans”; < https://doi.org/10.3389/2019.00888> . The Mediterranean Sea is extremely polluted whereas the waters in Canary Islands are purer.

I imagine we will take a lesson from these research, analysis on the Ganges river dolphins and the ghariyals, determine their mini-antibodies, synthesise them within the lab, and adapt them for human use in opposition to COVID-19 and different such coronaviruses. The DBT laboratory, Nationwide Institute of Animal Biotechnology (NIAB) at Hyderabad may be a potential centre to provoke this.

The place the twain do meet

In stark distinction to the above minister, is a request from the minister in control of AYUSH (Ayurveda, Yoga and naturopathy, Unani, Siddha and Homeopathy) to conduct a randomised managed medical trial to evaluate the efficacy of Ashwagandha, Yashtimadhu, giloy and a polyherbal formulation (known as Ayush 64), as prophylactic interventions in opposition to COVID-19. This must be performed since there may be enough proof that molecules in conventional herbs and vegetation have therapeutic properties, and their energetic molecules found, synthesised and utilized by drug corporations. And the polymath M S Valiathan has spent the final twenty years, collaborating with Ayurvedic practitioners, biochemists, cell biologists, geneticists and nanotechnologists to guage the results of conventional formulations utilizing in the present day’s scientific strategies.(Learn, for instance, his medal lecture:”Ayurvedic Biology: The First Decade” revealed in Proceedings of the Indian Nationwide Science Academy 82, No.1, March 2016. pp. 13-19, the place he cites many experiments on Ayurveda utilizing in the present day’s science, and their confirmatory outcomes; out there free on the internet). One such instance is: “In vivo effects of traditional Ayurvedic formulations in Drosophila melanogaster model relate with therapeutic applications”, by V. Dwivedi et al., PLoS One, 2012; 7(5):23711<doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0037113>. Right here is how custom and in the present day’s science meet and merge.

AYUSH can struggle COVID-19, Ganga Jal can solely carry it.

dbala@lvpei.org

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