Research has begun in two hospitals on the use of Andrographis Paniculata (AP) to treat Covid-19.
AP has been used in traditional Thai medicine to treat various infections, including fever and cold.
The first phase focuses on safety, disinfecting activity, and reducing virus-cell division.
Dr Marut Jirasrattasiri, director-general of the Thai Traditional and Alternative Medicine Department, said his department is collaborating with the Faculty of Medicine Siriraj Hospital, Chulabhorn Research Institute, and Government Pharmaceutical Organisation (GPO) in conducting a pilot study on the effects of AP extracts on patients with Covid-19 with approval from the Human Research Ethics Committee.
There was a request to conduct a trial on patients at the Bamrasnadura Infectious Disease Institute. However, since the current situation of people infected with Covid-19 in Thailand is getting better, there are very few patients in the programme.
The Department, therefore, requested the committee permission to change the hospital conducting human research to Samut Prakan Hospital and Bang Lamung Hospital since they are the main state quarantine centres accepting returnees from abroad.
The hospitals are ready since June 22 and can proceed immediately if any infected person meets the criteria for treatment.
He added that the infected people who meet the criteria to receive AP will be patients who have been confirmed to be infected with Covid-19 with symptoms lasting no more than 72 hours, with mild to moderate symptoms: fever, coughing and heating, which is usually not given any kind of medication.
In the first phase, six subjects will receive 60mg of AP extract capsules, or three times the normal dose, three times a day to see if the symptoms improve clearly. Another six patients will receive 100mg of AP extract capsules, or five times the normal dose, three times a day.
"The first phase of human trials will focus on safety. We want to know the efficiency both in people with and without symptoms, the effects on the blood, and the cytokine enzyme effect that is harmful to the lungs, heart, or liver.
"The extract will help reduce infection or disinfect. If it works well, it will be cheap and widely available. Importantly, the herbs are produced in Thailand 100 per cent," Dr Marut said.
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