With the COVID-19 pandemic numbers growing exponentially and citizens around the world in lockdown, many are tuned in to any possible information that can be found online – especially in the hope that a cure is available. While many research labs and medical professionals are hard at work in search of this very cure, no treatment has been successful to date. While some professionals are in search of a preventive vaccine, others have attempted clinical trials administering medication such as antimalarial drugs, arthritis medication and others, nothing has proved to work or cure the virus. In fact, a Google search will inform people of this fact.
The fact that a cure hasn’t been found doesn’t seem to have stopped fake news around the topic. A recent Lankan post on a public Facebook group named “වෙදකම වෙනුවෙන් බුකී හටන” (A Bookie for Medication) informed audiences that the Navy Hospital in Welisara had rejected Western medicine and was administering Ayurvedic treatments to patients successfully. The post seemed to be a screenshot taken from a Facebook Page named “ඩුබායි සිංහයා” (The Lion of Dubai). The shared screenshot and original post can be seen below:
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The text in the post which was shared over 6000 times, says: The Sri Lanka Navy in Welisara have defeated Western medicine by utilizing traditional/ Ayurvedic medical practices which show excellent results in 4 days. All soldiers are well and there is no one in the ICU. Blessings of the Triple Gem. All hail our soldiers!
As we mentioned in the introduction itself, the WHO has not confirmed any cure for COVID-19 to date.
We searched further to have a better understanding of how Ayurvedic practices are connected to the virus. It is in fact true that the government of Sri Lanka has urged Ayurvedic practitioners to seek a cure for the virus locally. A NEWSFIRST.LK article published on 7th April in fact confirms this. The article titled “Ayurvedic Medical Practitioners Requested to Find Alternative Indigenous Medicine against COVID-19” goes on to tell us that a representative consortium had gathered to discuss this further.
A more recent article about a potential Ayurvedic cure developed in Kerala seems to have been approved for a clinical trial just days ago. Indian medical website medicaldialogues.in published an article on 4th May titled “Clinical Trial of Ayurvedic Medicine Zingivir-H Tablet Starts on COVID-19 Patients”. As the title suggests, this is merely a clinical trial and not a confirmed cure. Several other clinical trials are underway across the planet as the search for a cure continues to gather momentum.
In order to ascertain the facts mentioned in the viral post specifically related to the Sri Lanka Navy, we spoke with the official SL Navy spokesman Lt. Commander Isuru Suriyabandara who refuted the claim immediately, telling a Fact Crescendo representative that none of the information in the viral post was true. In fact, the Naval hospital has not employed any alternative medicinal practices to date.
Additionally, Namal Lasantha Ulluvisheva, a Sri Lanka Navy physician made a statement on his Facebook profile confirming this information on 3rd May 2020. The post can be seen below:
Furthermore, we contacted the Health Promotions Bureau and Department of Ayurveda attached to the Ministry of Health and both of them refuted the claim as well.
Our investigation confirms that no cure has been found in any form of medical practice for COVID-19 and the official statement from the Sri Lanka Navy. Hence, we declare the viral post to be misleading and false.
Title:No. Sri Lanka Navy Did Not Use Alternative Medicine To Cure COVID-19Fact Check By: Shanaya Seneviratne