I have before me a research paper titled “covid-19 research Homoeopathy- Efficacy of Arsenicum Alb 30c for upregulating immunological markers among residents of covid-19 related hot spot areas in Pathanamthitta, Kerala”, recently published by Dr M V Thomas and coworkers, including some of the senior homeopaths from kerala.
As usual, homeopathic community is enthusiastically sharing and broadcasting this “research” as a valuable proof for their claims regarding homeopathic prevention of covid 19. The truth is that most of those homeopaths never read or try to understand what is written in the article, but simply broadcast it! I am very much sure they will vehemently oppose me even without readin what I am writing here, as “who said it” is more important and decisive for them than “what is said in it”! Their herd psychology is such that they cannot tolerate anything that criticizes their bosses or goes against their beliefs!
At the very onset, I want to express my happiness to note that the authors, in spite of their claim to be “classical homeopaths”, agree with the modern scientific view that “the causative organism of Covid 19 is a virus belonging to Coronaviridae family”. Normally, most classical homeopaths are seen to declare that “viruses are not causative agents of diseases”, and “virus theory” is a scam created big pharma conspracy! We have been recently hearing some “big homeopaths” theorizing that “viruses are not infectious”, “they do not come from outside the body”, and “viruses are fragments of our genetic substances that have undergone disintegratation due to the disturbances in the electromagnetic field of earth”! In such a context, this is a welcome change from the part of our present authors who talk about “covid 19 as an infectious pandemic produced by viruses”!
Once you go through the paper, you will see that this “research” has actually nothing to do with covid 19, even though the title claims it to be a “covid 19 research”! This work reminds us about the funny story of a clever student who was asked to write an essay about elephant, and made the essay by describing about the coconut tree to which the elephant was fastened to!
This study has nothing to do with homeopathic prophylaxis of Covid 19, even though the authors claim to be so. You will see that this is only a very poorly designed and executed study regarding the THERAPEUTIC EFFECTS of Arsenic Alb 30 on people diagnosed as “psychologically stressed”. The “rope” by which they fasten it to covid 19 is that the study was done in a “covid 19 hotspot area”!
Hypothesis is that people in “covid 19 hotspot areas will be psychologically stressed, this psychological stress will cause reduction in immunity, and the covid viruses will easily infect them”. It is also hypothetized that we can prevent covid if we could raise the immunity level by any means! In their study, homeopathic medicine Arsenic Alb 30 is found to raise the immune markers in the selected colunteers, and as such it is concluded that Arsenic Alb 30 can prevent covid 19!
” In the current episode of COVID-19 pandemic, the homoeopathic medicine Arsenicum alb 30C is selected as the genus epidemicus after an extensive review. It was hypothesised that, Arsenicum alb 30C will upregulate the immune markers of the individuals. The immune profile was explained by the serum absolute counts of CD4, CD3, CD8 and Lymphocyte.”
Hypothesis is that “Arsenicum alb 30C will upregulate the immune markers of the individuals”. But the study done was to find out whether Arsenicum alb 30C will upregulate the immune markers of the individuals having “deficiency of immune markers due to psychological stress”! The study did not prove any relationship between “immune markers” and Arsenic Alb 30 and healthy individuals. Nobody ever proved that covid 19 will affect only those whose “immune markers are low”! If it was proved to be so, it would have been easy for health workers to evolve a strategy of covid prevention by checking the “immune markers” of all individuals in the community and isolating those who have low levels of “immune markers”! It is a foolish idea indeed.
Theory of widespread “psychological stress in covid 19 hotspot areas” is ruled out by the authors themselves through their survey. It is stated in the paper itself that they interviewed 1151 individuals in the area, but could identify only 61 persons to be “psychologically stressed”. It means “psychological stress” could be detected only in a very minute percentage of people in the area. According to the theory proposed by authors, only these people will be vulnerable to covid 19 infection! More over, is there any evidence to prove that covid 19 affects only those who are psychologically stressed due to fear of covid 19? It is utter nonsense to correlate covid 19 infection with FEAR OF COVID! Many people who got covid 19 were common people totally unaware of covid!
From the 61 persons found to be “psychologically stressed”, only 16 persons were identified to be having “low immune profile”, and they were recruited for final study. Obviously, authors are indirectly proving that “psychological stress” produced lowered immune profile in a very small percentage of people- only 16 out of 61. It is 16 out of 1151 individuals they interviewed in a “hotspot area”! As such, whether or not Arsenic Alb 30 upregulated the immune profile of 16 persons is of no consequence as a “covid 19 research”!
“There were 61 participants diagnosed as having subjective distress due to COVID-19 form 1151 individuals studied. The individuals with low immunity profile was selected as the participants of the study. The low immune profile was identified by those with absolute CD4 count below normal.”
“Thus 16 participants identified as having low immune profile such as CD4, CD3, CD8, CD4:CD8 ratio and absolute lymphocyte count. The Arsenicum album 30C was given to the participants and post-test was taken after 5 days. The post-test revealed that, there were significant pre-post difference reported among all the immunological markers”.
What does it mean that only 61 persons among 1151 individuals were “psychologically stressed”, and only 16 among them were found to be having “low immune profile”? Out of 61 persons identified to be having “psychological stress” from a group of 1151 , 35 persons did not show “low immunity profile”! It totally disproves the hypothesis that relates covid 19 infection with “lowered immunity” due to “psychological stress” !
Here comes another wonderful statement:
“It also found that, COVID-19 pandemic has created different levels of subjective distress as a result of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) at residents of hot spot areas in Kerala.”
Is it “post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)” or “anticipatory psychological stress” the authors are talking about? Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is defined in psychology as a mental disorder that can develop after a person is exposed to a TRAUMATIC event, such as sexual assault, warfare, traffic accidents, child abuse or such severe threats in a person’s life. How this discussion of PTSD become relevant here? It is obvious that the authors are ignorant about the difference between “post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)” and “anticipatory psychological stress”.
Then comes the next stage of the study. All the 16 persons found to be having “lowered immune profile” are given the homeopathic remedy Arsenic Album 30. Post-test of immune profile was taken after 5 days. “The post-test revealed that, there were significant pre-post difference reported among all the immunological markers”.
This is the actual study. And by this “research”, they claim to have proved that “Arsenic Alb 30 is effective in preventing covid 19? Wonderful “scientific” conclusion indeed, isn’t it”
What about controls? Most important drawback of this study is that there are no CONTROLS. All the 16 persons recruited were given Ars Alb 30. How can we say the upregulating of biological markers was caused by arsenic Alb, as far as there is no a control group kept on placebo to compare with? A control group kept on placebo is most essential in this kind of a study which involves psychological factors, in order to ensure that the upregulatiion of biomarkers were caused by Arsenic Alb itself.
How can we say the “psychological stress” of the selected individuals was not relieved by placebo effects? How can we say a biological effect produced by “psychological stress” could not be reversed by the “psychological effects” of placebo? See the instructions the researchers had given to the volunteers:
“The following instructions were given to the participants before the oral administration of Arsenicum album 30C.
1. Stay home, do not go out unless it is inevitable.
2. Eat good diet including vegetables.
3. Sleep 6-8 hours in a day”.
“Eating good diet”, “staying at home and taking good rest”, and “sleeping 6-8 hours in a day” are common measures that psychologists advice to reduce mental stress. You can imagine what actually happened to the volunteers here!
Another important draw back of this research is that there is no BLINDING at all, and as such, we cannot rule out the biases and prejudices of researchers in deciding the outcome, especially in a study involving psychological factors as major ingredient.
Even if the findings of the study are taken seriously, what did it actually prove? It proved that Arsenic Alb 30 can upregulate the immune markers in PAITENTS who are “psychologically stressed”. It is all about treatment of psychological stress. Nothing to do with “prevention of covid 19”!
All other remaining massive texts panning through hundreds of pages of this “research paper” are mere copy-paste, which were intended only to make the paper appear bulky, scholarly and serious. They are totally irrelevant as far as the hypothesis and research methodology are fundamentally flawed! As such, I am avoiding the discussion of those parts involving the “modus operandi of potentized drugs”, which are actually a bundle of wild fancies and imaginations interspersed with scientific terms. No where they even try to address the fundamental questions such as what are the active principles of post-avogadro diluted homeopathic drugs, and what is the biological mechanism by which they produce therapeutic effects. They quote a lot of things about biological actions of ARSENIC TRIOXIDE, as if arsenic Album 30 they used is containing molecular forms of arsenic trioxide. No where they mentioned about avogadro number, where as any scientific discussions of homeopathy drugs should involve a mention to avogadro number! Without explaining how and in what form medicinal properties of drug substances could be retained in dilutions much above avogadro limit, any scientific explanation of homeopathy is impossible.
Read this statement: “It was hypothesised that, the disease prevention in homoeopathy carried out by enhancing immunity status of the individual. There were many studies reported with immunological studies with homoeopathy.”
Listen to the following references to prove this claim of “disease prevention in homoeopathy carried out by enhancing immunity status of the individual” :
“Ullman (23) reported that, the homoeopathic medicines made statistically significant pretest and post-test values of CD4 among the subjects with stage III AIDS. It also maintained the values of CD8 count among these patients. Charan, Shinde, Manchanda, Khurana & Taneja (24) revealed that, in HIV patients the homoeopathic medicines improved the CD4 count and CD4/CD8 ratio. The homoeopathic drugs in various potencies can influence mice, bone marrow
cells, macrophages and PMN cells (25). Bonamin et al., (26) conducted a study and analysed the immune modulation mechanism of Thymulin 5CH in a granuloma experimental model. The study was conducted among mice models and reported that, there were increase in the CD4+ and CD8+ T-lymphocytes in the local lymph node. “
The first two studies in the above reference were about the THERAPEUTIC EFFECTS of homeopathic medicines in HIV PATIENTS. Third study is regarding GRANULOMA. These studies proved nothing about “disease prevention in homoeopathy carried out by enhancing immunity status”. Either the authors could not understand the above studies, or they are intentionally trying to mislead the readers.
Most wonderful part of this “research paper” is regarding “modus operandi” of Arsenic Alb 30 in upregulatiing immune markers”. Please listen:
“The modus operandi of homoeopathic medicine is not completely revealed. The action of Arsenicum album 30C is also not different. An extensive review on the subject explains a hypothesis. Arsenicum album. is a well-established drug for clinical management of diseases with presenting symptoms similar to COVID-19. As2O3 is widely used in modern medicine as well as nanomedicine trials for improving immunity and reduce inflammation caused by immunocompromised
diseases (42-52). In homoeopathic pharmacopeia of India, the preparation of
Arsenicum album. is reported and approved by CDSCO. Arsenicum album 30C is considered as an established drug derived from mineral sources which can deliver therapeutic action at nanomaterial doses (52-57). More importantly As2O3 and its various formulations have a significant role in PML isoforms and these PML gene regulations have crucial role in generating antiviral defense mechanism (54). In the context of COVID-19 pandemic outbreak, As2O3 based homoeopathic prophylaxis will help the human body to experience an immunological learning from artificial
immune challenge raised through Arsenicum album.”
What is the “moduus operandi”? Did you understand anything? Did they say anything meaningful, except playing with some words?
“As2O3 is widely used in modern medicine as well as nanomedicine trials for improving immunity and reduce inflammation caused by immunocompromised
Diseases. Arsenic Trioxide and its various formulations have a significant role in PML isoforms and these PML gene regulations have crucial role in generating antiviral defense mechanism”.
So what? Tell clearly whether Arsenic Trioxide is present in Arsenic 30, which is a actually a dilution of 1 in 6023 followed by 60 zeros! Do you know how much it is above Avogadro limit? Please tell in WHAT FORM and WHAT QUANTITY Arsenic Trioxide will be present in such a dilution. Without mentioning anything about it, authors are trying to hide themselves behind a smoke screen of words about “how Arsenic Trioxide is used in modern medicine for immunity”!
Here is another wonderful piece of example for the vanity or ignorance the authors are trying to distribute to the homeopaths in the label of “scientific research” . Read this:
“Glycerin present in Arsenicum album. Elevates the blood plasma osmolality thereby extracting water from tissues into interstitial fluid and plasma, which in turn helps the associated As2O3 to perforate through the cell membranes. Thus, the Arsenicum album. entered into the cellular environment will create an immunological stress(57-61).”
Glycerine present in Arsenic Alb 30 pills? Wherefrom this glycerine comes in Ars Alb 30 pills in such a quantity to “elevates the blood plasma osmolality thereby extracting water from tissues into interstitial fluid and plasma, which in turn helps the associated As2O3 to perforate through the cell membranes”! All of us know that a small quantity of glycerine is added to dissolve Arsenic Trioxide during trituration stage of potentization. But how could you imagine that glycerine to stay there without undergoing any change even after undergoing the dilution process upto 30c stage? That too in a quantity to “elevate the blood plasma osmolarity”, and “extracting water from tissues into interstitial fluid and plasma”! There should be a limit even for talking nonsense!