Covid-19: Govt body wants research on ‘special properties’ of Ganga water

The NMCG had on April 24 consulted the CSIR-NEERI scientists after getting proposals from NGO Atulya Ganga and conservationists who sought to undertake clinical studies of treatment of Covid-19 patients with Ganga water.

PTI
Boats anchored along the banks of River Ganga.
NEW DELHI: At a time when many Indian scientific institutions are working to find or repurpose a drug to treat Covid-19 patients, the National Mission for Clean Ganga (NMCG) — premier central body involved with river rejuvenation works — wants a pilot research project in upper regions of the Ganga as no “virus related studies” have, so far, been carried out in the river.

Underlining that the Ganga water has “special properties which is prominent in upper stretches”, the NMCG has written to the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) seeking opinion of its experts for carrying out research on its “clinical effectiveness”.

It, however, in its letter to the ICMR, also noted views of the scientists of CSIR’s National Environmental Engineering Research Institute (NEERI) who categorically told the NMCG that they “do not have proof that Ganga water or sediment has anti-viral properties”. The CSIR-NEERI had earlier carried a study on assessment of water quality and sediment to understand special properties of river Ganga under ‘Namami Gange’ programme.


The NMCG had on April 24 consulted the CSIR-NEERI scientists after getting proposals from NGO Atulya Ganga and conservationists who sought to undertake clinical studies of treatment of Covid-19 patients with Ganga water.

The CSIR-NEERI scientists told the NMCG that the “overall clinical trial on water alone may not actually yield very useful results, though this would need a good considered opinion of agencies such as ICMR”.

Referring to the scientists’ views, the NMCG’s executive director, D P Mathuria, in his letter to the ICMR’s director general on April 28 said, “Since no virus related studies have been yet carried out and if it is felt that we should do, one could attempt a pilot in the upper regions of Ganga. While I mention it, it is important that clinical effectiveness must be examined from a very different angle which will need opinion of experts from ICMR kind of institutions.”
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Mathuria also forwarded the proposals, which the NMCG received, to the ICMR for its “further examination and consideration”.
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