June 25, 2020 / 2:00 PM / 11 days ago

India's richest state bans guru's 'spurious' coronavirus treatment

MUMBAI (Reuters) - India’s richest state on Thursday banned a “spurious” coronavirus treatment manufactured by a company founded by popular yoga guru, which he says has a 100% record in curing patients.

FILE PHOTO: India's yoga guru Baba Ramdev performs yoga on the banks of the river Ganges ahead of International Yoga day, in the northern town of Haridwar, India, June 19, 2020. Picture taken June 19, 2020. REUTERS/Sunil Kataria/File Photo

Baba Ramdev, co-founder of Patanjali and a household name in India, launched Coronil to much fanfare on Tuesday, but hit a roadblock when New Delhi and some state governments expressed scepticism.

The western state of Maharashtra banned the drug.

“Maharashtra won’t allow the sale of spurious medicine,” state minister Anil Deshmukh tweeted on Thursday, adding authorities would probe whether any clinical trials had been run.

Deshmukh could not be reached for a comment. Patanjali did not immediately respond to an email from Reuters seeking comment.

Hours after its launch, India’s federal government asked Patanjali to provide details about Coronil, trials and sample size and asked the company to stop advertising the product until it had been approved.

Ramdev, who is seen as a supporter of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, said at the launch that the medicine consisted of ancient Ayurvedic ingredients that boost immunity and had a 100% cure rate.

India reported a record increase of nearly 17,000 coronavirus infections on Thursday, taking the total to 473,105 with 14,894 deaths.

Maharashtra, home to India’s financial hub of Mumbai, has been the hardest hit by the pandemic, accounting for more than 25% of cases.

The state reported some 3,890 new infections on Thursday, taking its tally up to 142,900 cases. It has recorded 6,739 deaths.

Writing by Shilpa Jamkhandikar; Editing by Nick Macfie

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