The world is agog with different COVID-19 vaccines developed by multi-billion-dollar pharma-industry, with support from governments and international bodies. But what you missed in the headlines is the fact that a new homeopathic remedy for COVID-19 is already here. The COVID-19 Nosode has been developed and has successfully completed Animal Toxicity Studies, Phase1 Human trial, Phase 2 Clinical trial, and more. This monumental work was undertaken by our guest for this interview – Dr Rajesh Shah.
Dr Rajesh Shah is an eminently successful practicing homeopath, and he is also an original thinker.
In a thought-provoking paper published a few years ago in ‘Homeopathy’ (UK), he suggested that the symptom-centric approach in homeopathy was a restrictive key-hole perspective (1).
Dr. Shah reminded all classical homeopaths that Hahnemann had also emphasized the importance of pathogenesis or disease-producing power of medicinal substances as part of the “totality of disease”. This fact is often lost sight of by practitioners and educators and leads to serious limitations in practice and failure to achieve success.
I consider Dr Rajesh Shah as a true “revolutionary”. He is a pioneer of online medical practice which he started way back in 1995 – and then others followed. His website has a content of more than 10,000 web pages to help practitioners, researchers, educators, and patients.
He is a great proponent of an integrative approach to medicine. He has received many awards including one from the Hon. Vice President of India in 2018 for new drug development. Dr Shah leads a team of nearly 100 persons including 30 doctors. His patient-base covers a diverse spectrum – from the family of the past-president of the United States to the poorest of the poor from Africa, Brazil, and Somalia.
Ashok RajGuru (AR): Dr Rajesh, could you briefly tell us what brought you to Homeopathy? Most young people in India who aspire for a career in medicine, opt for allopathy, and homeopathy is at best a second or third choice.
Dr. Rajesh Shah (Dr. RS): I think my family roots in natural systems of medicine attracted me in making a career in the homeopathy medical profession, which I found exciting soon after joining the medical school in 1980, under Mumbai University. Successful medical practice calls for a passion to help people. I have been enjoying my practice for the last 35 years.
AR: For nearly a decade I have been following you in medical conferences, reading your contributions in medical journals and on Social Media. You come across as a man of many parts – a very successful clinician, an author, a researcher, a teacher, and an entrepreneur. Which role do you love most?
Dr. RS: Well, I feel what I enjoy the most is the blending of everything. Everything is linked. I have a passion for the practice. Research is like a purpose of life for me. I love teaching. And entrepreneurial skills allow me to enjoy this fusion. I cannot imagine my profession without the mix of these ingredients which have enriched my journey as a medical man.
AR: You come across as a kind of revolutionary in challenging many practices. You are perhaps the first in the world who worked to establish protocols for preparation, standardization, and in-vitro safety testing of nosodes. Could you please tell us more about it? In particular, what was the necessity of doing it?
Dr. RS: Nosodes drew my attention from the very beginning. Incidentally, when I started learning about the nosodes in 1981-82, the HIV virus was discovered by Luc Antoine Montagnier and team, which made me immediately think of making HIV Nosode. Well, it took me about 30 years to develop HIV Nosode in 2008-9.
Developing and researching the HIV Nosode and Hepatitis C Nosode over 7-8 years taught me many lessons. One of the eye-openers for me was that there was hardly any well-defined method for making the nosodes.
The Homoeopathy Pharmacopeia of India (HPI) has a chapter on nosodes and describes a method, however, no one has ever made any (old or new) nosode in India based on that chapter!
All the nosodes are made using the back-potencies (2). I was shocked to realize this. I also realized that hardly any nosodes were ever systematically and scientifically made (except Ocillococcinum, etc.) in the last 70 years (3).
Many new organisms have been identified and newer strains have evolved. The knowledge and technology used in microbiology have evolved incredibly in the last 100 years. However, the nosodes in homeopathy have not evolved. This forced me to take up some fundamental work in nosode development.
I am happy to share that, with the help of many experts, we have been able to develop about twelve new nosodes and conduct scientific research using modern techniques. Some of these nosodes are prepared from organisms such as HIV, Hepatitis C, Mycobacterium Tuberculosis, E Coli, Plasmodium falciparum, HPV, Salmonella, and Cancer tissues, etc.
AR: What about the provings that were done by the Great Masters? Can we not rely on them? Why should we create old nosodes like Tuberculinum, Carcinosin etc., all over again?
Dr. RS: Well, this is a very serious question. I wish we had discussed this on a larger platform. This can open a Pandora box. I have a couple of articles getting published on this topic. I will only share some thoughts in very brief, as you have triggered this topic.
First, we must realize that almost all of the old nosodes (Psorinum, Medorrhinum, Syphilinum, Carcinosin, Lyssin, etc.) are ‘non-reproducible’ to match with the original preparations. This is because the nosodes were prepared 130 to 190 years ago without having any details of their microbial contents. So, we need to make them all over again.
Second, the currently available old nosodes have been prepared from their ‘un-tracked’ back-potencies. Unfortunately, as clinicians, we never paid attention to the sources of nosodes or other medicines. As a result, most of the old nosodes available in the market today have a questionable quality and unknown source information.
Third, some of the nosodes did not have proper proving. You will be surprised to know that Tuberculinum was never a well-proved drug. Similar is the story about Carcinosin. One has to only refer to the sourcebooks to verify.
The time has come that we need to re-work most of our nosodes and standardize them more systematically and scientifically, without being dogmatic about our belief system.
AR: Besides standardization of existing nosodes, you also developed nosodes from E. coli strains (4), Hepatitis C, Plasmodium falciparum (malaria) nosode, HIV, HPV (5) and Cancer. Have these found any clinical applications in immunologically mediated diseases, infections including Hepatitis C, fibrotic pathology and chronic inflammatory disorders, as you had expected?
Dr. RS: Yes, our research work on about twelve nosodes has shown very interesting findings. We have used them in pre-clinical and clinical models.
Earlier, I had only read, heard, and hence believed that nosodes could be used against their source infection as prophylactic and therapeutic measures. There was hardly any scientific evidence.
A series of studies with the new nosodes has shown that Hepatitis C nosode has an anti-Hepatitis C effect (6). HIV Nosode has shown anti-HIV effect in the human model (7). Similarly, Plasmodium falciparum nosode (8) has shown anti-malaria effect in cell line model. Likewise, our new Cancer nosode has shown anti-cancer effects in two pre-clinical experiments (9). We have some more results in this direction with some more nosodes; the papers are under publication process.
Besides their specific anti-disease efficacy, our research has shown excellent results as per the homeopathic principle. For example, HIV Nosode and Hepatitis C Nosode have shown anti-cancer effects in cell line models. Overhauling of nosodes has potential benefits in clinical practice, I can say beyond any hesitation.
AR: I think you are perhaps the only homeopathic researcher who has worked in close association with cytogeneticists and molecular biologists. Your 2015 paper demonstrated conclusively that Hepatitis 30C induced apoptosis, increased reactive oxygen species generation, and produced increased DNA nicks, and decreased expression of two cancer biomarkers consistent with its anti-cancer effect. How did the allopathic community react to your findings?
Dr. RS: Yes, our research in collaboration with leading molecular biologists like Dr AR Khuda-Bukhsh, as well as other scientists at Tata Memorial Advanced Centre for Treatment, Research and Education in Cancer (ACTRECT), etc. has shown not only efficacy of the nosodes but also shown the mechanism of action of the nosodes, as you have rightly mentioned.
When we observed that HIV Nosode and Hepatitis C Nosode were capable of causing apoptosis (cancer cell death) by regulating certain mitochondrial pathways, personally, I was extremely satisfied with this breakthrough finding.
You have asked me about how the conventional medical community responded to this discovery. Well, many scientists, pharmacologists, and oncologists were astonished by the findings and they have shown a desire for more explorative studies.
The findings turned into convincing evidence for many scientists. However, I am not sure if I should say this or not, but the homeopathic community has shown very little interest or excitement with the unique mechanism explained through our experiments!
AR: You have developed and patented many new homeopathic remedies, and these are not patented in the sense of being combinations of existing remedies as is the practice of many companies. Are these available to other homeopaths to use in their practice and have they appeared in contemporary Materia Medica and repertories?
Dr. RS: Homeopaths often ask me if the new drugs developed by our team are made available for their practice. Most people do not realize that in order that the new drugs are made commercially available, they need to be first ‘approved’ by the drug controlling body.
The new homeopathic drug regulation is not well-defined in India, and as a result, the new drugs have not yet been made available for mass use. I have been working on this issue for over a decade and hope to see the approval process in place in the near future.
AR: And now we come to the exciting news that our readers are waiting to hear from you – tell us about the COVID-19 Nosode.
Dr. RS: Well, as you know, nosodes and vaccines have a lot in common. I like to call them cousins, or in fact, twins. Both are prepared from biological sources. Vaccines are prepared by weakening the organisms so that do not retain the toxic or infective properties of the original substance, but still, they have the ability to trigger an immune response that can be protective.
Similarly, nosodes also are made by potentization and serial dilution that transform the substance and retain the immunogenicity to induce an immune response from the human body. This was known to homeopaths, but we did not have adequate scientific evidence all these years. But it was during these COVID-19 times that we had the opportunity to collect the evidence and confirm that these nosodes can actually elicit a response like vaccines. As a matter of fact, I hesitatingly say that nosodes are “homeopathically prepared oral vaccines at room temperature”.
We developed 3 variants of COVID-19 nosodes at the BSL2 facility at Haffkine Institute, Mumbai and Gujarat University, by end of May and July 2020. One variant was from a clinical sample containing a live virus, another from certain inactivated strains, and the third from spike glycoproteins (10).
All safety precautions applicable to modern vaccine development were strictly followed, even though preparation of a nosode involves serial dilution beyond the Avogadro’s number and in fact, no RNA material exists beyond 5C potency.
In line with conventional guidelines, we followed OECD/ NDCT guidelines for animal toxicity testing. This is the first time we observed these guidelines in nosode studies to facilitate rapid acceptance to conventional standards. Similarly, strict, conventional standards were applied for in-vitro studies.
Phase 1 studies were conducted on 10 healthy volunteers under ICMR guidelines. None of the volunteers developed any serious adverse effects. Drug proving symptoms were documented.
What is particularly noteworthy is that all the 10 volunteers showed an elevation of certain cytokines thereby suggesting immune response in the form of T-cell activation. Also, there was an increase in CD4 count in 70% of the volunteers.
Thus, we confirmed, perhaps for the first time, that a homeopathic potency of 30C can elicit an immune response. This finding itself presents another opportunity to explore how such an ultra-dilute dose could retain the ability to induce an immune response.
After that, we conducted an observational clinical trial. The Municipality of Mumbai was running many quarantine facilities, so we collaborated with them, and trials were conducted in one such facility housing more than 2,200 high-risk individuals who had been exposed. The placebo-controlled multi-arm clinical trial was completed on 2,233 people. We also compared the nosode with other indicated homeopathic remedies like Arsenicum album, Bryonia, and Camphora, with about 325 persons in each of the six arms. In this human study, Covid-19 nosode showed 62% efficacy against placebo. Camphora showed no efficacy.
In clinical practice, I treated many cases after obtaining prior consent. We had patients who were immune-compromised, cancer patients, or those who were exposed to three or more infected relatives in the same house. In most of the cases, either the subjects did not get infection or the disease ran a milder course or developed almost no symptoms.
We have applied for emergency approval from the Drug Controller General of India (DCGI), Ministry of AYUSH (Ayurveda, Yoga & Naturopathy, Unani, Siddha and Homoeopathy) and requested the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) for fast-track support, as per AYUSH’s notifications dated 21 April 202 and 28 July 2020. But support is still very slow. Meanwhile, we are preparing for Phase 3 trials.
AR: What has been the response from the AYUSH Ministry of the Government of India with regard to this great development?
Dr. RS: Well, the COVID-19 Nosode has shown promising efficacy and it has shown a potential to help the world. There is an unprecedented opportunity before the homeopathic fraternity, the Government of India and the Ministry of AYUSH, as the COVID-19 Nosode has been made in India by Indian doctors, researchers.
If I have to answer your questions honestly, I must say that the response from the government should have been much faster and much more positive. If vaccines and Ayurvedic medicines can get emergency approvals for COVID-19, why not a new homeopathic research-based nosode?
AR: How much will a typical dose of COVID-19 nosode cost, and what will it achieve in terms of prophylaxis and/or cure?
Dr. RS: COVID-19 Nosode has shown a potential of preventing the disease as well as making it run a milder course in our studies. Needless to say, COVID-19 Nosode is like an oral vaccine and made available at room temperature. The cost of this nosode could be affordable by a common man and cheaper than the vaccine.
AR: Dr Shah, you said that the COVID-19 nosode was ready in May 2020. Why is it not made available for such a long time?
Dr. RS: COVID-19 is a new homeopathic drug. For using any new drug, it must be first approved by the government authority. Currently, there is no specific body with full powers to approve a new homeopathic drug. As a result, COVID-19 Nosode, in spite of being scientifically prepared and tested for its efficacy has not been made available to the masses.
AR: Oh, it is really sad that such a revolutionary development has remained un-utilized when the world needed it the most. Dr Shah, how could the COVID-19 Nosode approval process have been expedited?
Dr. RS: Conventionally, new drug discovery is done by pharma companies, institutions and governments. It is rarely done by individual researchers. For a fast-tract support, the homeopathic fraternity, all homeopathic pharma companies, homeopathic professional bodies like Homeopathic Medical Association of India (HMAI), Indian Institute of Homoeopathic Physicians (IIHP), and others, homeopathic colleges, and the media should join hands to demand the approval of COVID-19 Nosode.
AR: In your writings, you have commented extensively on homeopathic philosophy and laid stress on the importance of selecting remedies on the basis of symptom portrait combined with pathogenicity of the candidate remedy material.
Your research in the field of nosodes has confirmed your propositions. Would you say that in the future, treatment for infectious diseases (like malaria, chikungunya, SARS, MERS, etc.) could be best managed with nosodes? That would simplify homeopathic practice and save a lot of time as compared to individualizing each case of a known infectious disease?
Dr. RS: Your question has several questions inside of it. Let me answer each of them. Philosophy is a strength of homeopathic science. However, at the end of the day, it must be looked at and practiced as ‘science’ more than ‘philosophy’.
Homeopathy is the only healthcare system in the world that is not considered as ‘science’ by mainstream scientists. It is unfortunate that the homeopaths did not really care about it for all these years! All the faculties and streams of science such as engineering, computing, healthcare, agriculture, telephony, automobiles, etc. progressed exponentially in the last one hundred years, except homeopathy. This is because we failed to nurture and nourish homeopathy as science.
Hahnemann, Kent, Boericke, Boger, Dhawale, and others have included pathogenesis as a part of the totality. It is imprudent to neglect pathology from totality. My comments have been only to redirect the over-philosophized homeopaths to the science of homeopathy.
Based on our scientific research with about 12 nosodes in the last twenty years, I am confident that they have a significant role to play as therapeutic as well as prophylactic medicines. A lot more work is required, of course.
AR: In continuation of the last question, given our present-day knowledge, how would you view Kent’s observations in Chapter 1 of his revered “Lectures on Homeopathic Philosophy” where he asserted that “Bacteria are the results of disease. In the course of time we will be able to show perfectly that the microscopic little fellows are not the disease cause, but that they come after, that they are scavengers accompanying the disease, and that they are perfectly harmless in every respect”.
Dr. RS: Over 100 years ago, if someone believed that the microbes did not cause diseases, it could be excused because the microbiological knowledge was limited in those years. In the olden days’ people believed that the earth was flat. It will be ridiculous if someone still maintains that the earth is flat!
AR: One last question Dr Shah. How do you relax and keep cool? What is the secret of your versatility and creativity? What direction would give to the new generation of homeopaths?
Dr. RS: Ha..ha… The practice of meditation (Vipassana) has helped me stay relaxed. Also, realizing that nothing is really achieved by losing the cool, helps too. Staying in the learning mode forever has helped me stay grounded. Reading, traveling, playing badminton, playing keyboard, being open to learning new things, and a simplistic lifestyle make me happy. To the new generation of homeopaths, I cannot give direction but can only suggest, not to accept blindly what is written in the literature, learn to ask questions.
|1.||Shah R. Symptom Similarity versus Disease Similarity: Revisiting the Application of the Law of Similars and Challenging the Symptom-Centric Approach in Homeopathy. Homeopathy. 2018; 107(3): p. 218-222.|
|2.||Shah R. Standardization of the potentizing machine and quantification of impact of potentization. Indian J Res Homoeopathy. 2013; 10: p. 126-32.|
|3.||Shah R. Scientific method of preparing homoeopathic nosodes. Indian J Res Homoeopathy. 2014;: p. 166-74.|
|4.||Shah R, Munshi R, Talele G. Preparation and Standardization of Escherichia coli Nosodes Sourced from Select E. coli Strains.” 109, no. 04 (2020): 207-212. Homeopathy. 2020; 109(4): p. 207-212.|
|5.||Shah R. The Preparation and standardization of Human papillomavirus (HPV) (Genotype 6) Nosode. International Journal of High Dilution Research. 2019; 18(3).|
|6.||Shah R. Hepatitis C Nosode: The preparation and homeopathic pathogenetic trial. Homeopathy. 2013; 102(3): p. 207-214.|
|7.||Shah R. HIV Nosode: The Homeopathic Pathogenetic Trial. Forsch Komplementmed. 2015; 22: p. 156-162.|
|8.||Shah R. An experimental in vitro study to evaluate the antimalarial activity of select homeopathy preparations ISSN: 2454-9142, Impact Factor: RJIF 5.54. International Journal of Medical and Health Research. 2017 July; 3(7): p. 65-68.|
|9.||Shah R, Talele G. Preparation of Cancer Nosodes from specific cancer tissues. Int J High Dilution Res. 2019; 18(1).|
|10.||Shah R, al e. Preparation of Coronavirus Nosodes Sourced from a Clinical Sample of SARS-Cov-2 Positive Patient, Inactivated Strain, and Spike Glycoprotein. Int J High Dilution Res. 2020; 19(4): p. 2-9.|