MD, PhD, MAE, FMedSci, FRSB, FRCP, FRCPEd.

This cohort study was designed as undertaken to evaluate the protective effect of Arsenicum album 30C against COVID-19.

Participants were enrolled in a homeopathy intervention (HI) cohort (who received Arsenicum album) or in a non-intervention (NI) cohort (who received no systematic intervention) from COVID-19 containment areas of Delhi. Individuals of age 5 years or above were given four medicated pills of Arsenicum album 30C, while those from 1 to 5 years old were given two medicated pills in each dose.

The analysis included 10,180 individuals residing in 11 COVID-19 containment areas in Delhi, out of which 6,590 individuals were in the HI cohort and 3,590 individuals were in the NI cohort. The overall protective effect of Arsenicum album 30C was 83% (95% confidence interval [CI], 76.77 to 88.17): 45 cases per 6,590 (8.34 per 10,000 person-weeks) in the Arsenicum album 30C group versus 143 cases per 3,590 (45.01 per 10,000 person-weeks) in the NI cohort. The protective effect of Arsenicum album 30C against laboratory-confirmed COVID-19 was 74% (95% CI, 55.08 to 85.41): 18 cases per 6,590 (3.32 per 10,000 person-weeks) in the Arsenicum album 30C group versus 38 cases per 3,590 (11.85 per 10,000 person-weeks) in the NI cohort.

The authors concluded that the use of Arsenicum album 30C was associated with some protection against probable and laboratory-confirmed COVID-19 in a containment-zone setting. Randomized controlled trials are needed to confirm or refute these results.

It is remarkable, I feel, that the authors conclude Arsenicum album 30C was associated with some protection. All too often enthusiasts of homeopathy claim a causal link where there is none – but not this time, and I wonder why.

Unfortunately, I was unable to read the full text of the paper (it’s behind a paywall and I would be grateful for anyone to make it available). Thus, I cannot comment on one of the most crucial questions related to the study: how were the patients divided into the two groups?

It is clear that it was not by randomization. Yet only randomization would have created two fully comparable groups. The most likely explanation for the findings of this trial is therefore that the two groups differed in terms of one or more prognostic factors. This would explain why a group of patients receiving a placebo (Arsenicum album C30 is a dilution of Arsenic at a ratio of 1: 1000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000 and therefore is a pure placebo [unless, of course, one believes in homeopathic magic) experience different outcomes from those receiving nothing.

As I said, the answer can only be found by studying the precise selection criteria used in this study. Until this is cleared up, I can only say three things for sure:

  1. A causal link between the treatment and the result is highly unlikely.
  2. It is regrettable that researchers do not use randomization for potentially important trials.
  3. It seems unethical to encourage placebo use for the prevention of a serious illness.

_______________________

UPDATE

I just received the full text from one of the authors. This is what they say about the allocation of the participants:

“Participants were enrolled in two cohorts: the homeopathy intervention (HI) cohort and the non-intervention (NI) cohort. Recruitment to the cohorts was at cluster level (containment area): the clusters were allotted to the HI cohort or the NI cohort as per convenience.”

I am afraid, this tells me very little, and my concerns noted above still apply.

A few other points are of relevance:

  • The study was conducted between April and August 2020. This begs the question of why it took 2 years to publish the findings.
  • The outcomes were verified via telephone. This means that social desirability might have influenced the results.
  • The paper also confirms that there were many important differences between the groups that might have prognostic significance.
  • The conclusion at the end of the paper does imply causality in stronger terms than the abstract: “The use of Arsenicum album 30C may help protect against COVID-19 infection. Randomized controlled trials are needed
    to confirm or refute our findings.

12 Responses to Effectiveness of Homeopathic Arsenicum album 30C in the Prevention of COVID-19

  • Could the study have done with a third group – a groups of people who had received the Covid vaccine? Then the test would be vaccine, nothing and homeopathy (actually still nothing!).

  • ‘Randomized controlled trials are needed to confirm or refute these results’

    Why bother it goes without saying that its ‘refute’. I’ll say it anyway:)

  • Looking for prevention of COVID-19 with a 30C potency ist only one thing, nonwithstanding any methodic flaws:
    a futile research for nothing. It’s like trying to determine the type of cheese that makes up the moon.

  • Better results than the bogus results posted by Pfizer for their mRNA vaccine.

    • @stan
      Your comment is
      – off-topic (rule #5)
      – untrue (rule #10)
      – lacking evidence (top banner)
      So you managed to cram at least three transgressions in one short sentence.

      Do you have any pertinent comments about the efficacy of homeopathic arsenicum album against Covid-19?

  • “Participants were enrolled in two cohorts: the homeopathy intervention (HI) cohort and the non-intervention (NI) cohort. Recruitment to the cohorts was at cluster level (containment area): the clusters were allotted to the HI cohort or the NI cohort as per convenience.”

    I understand all the words, but not what the authors mean by arranging them in this order.

    It just sounds like “We made it up as we went along, mate!”

    • I have sent them an email asking for clarification; so far no answer.
      BUT THE IMPORTANT POINT: reputable journals should insist that such crucial info is provided fully in any paper they publish.

  • The first Corona vaccines were not approved until the end of 2022.

    • We have JULY 2020 and the first Corona vaccines were approved by the end of 2020.

      Moderna Spikevax: Emergency use authorization in USA, UK on Dec 18, 2020. Conditional marketing authorization by EU on Jan 6, 2021
      BioNTech Comirnaty: Emergency use authorization in UK on Dec 2, 2020. Conditional marketing authorization by EU on Dec 21, 2021

Leave a Reply to Edzard Cancel reply

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Subscribe to new posts

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Recent Comments

Note that comments can be edited for up to five minutes after they are first submitted but you must tick the box: “Save my name, email, and website in this browser for the next time I comment.”

The most recent comments from all posts can be seen here.

Archives
Categories