27 March 2020
JAKARTA, March 27, 2020 - SOHO Global Health declares the currently circulating information that Imboost causes excessive immune reactions to viruses that can also damage organs is a hoax. DR. Raphael Aswin Susilowidodo, ST, M.Si, SOHO Global Health's Vice President of Research & Development and Regulatory, explained that the picture messages that had massively circulated since March 24, 2020 about contra indications of using Immuno-bosting supplement in COVID-19 patients did not have valid clinical references. DR. Aswin and the team have searched for this information source including on the official website of Nutri Genetic Research Institute and found no clear information sources or reliable supporting references.
DR. Aswin explained that Echinace purpurea contained in IMBOOST & IMBOOST FORCE has benefits as an immunomodulator, means Echinacea can regulate the body's immune system. Furthermore, DR. Aswin explained that Echinace purpurea plays a function that adjustable to the body's condition depending when the body is healthy and when suffering from an infection.
According to DR. Aswin, in a healthy body, Echinacea plays a role in increasing the body's defense by increasing the body's immune system such as phagocytosis, a natural killer cell that the body needs to eliminate foreign objects / pathogens from entering the body such as viruses / bacteria. <Gan, et.al, 2003>
Echinacea also plays a role in balancing the level of cytokines in the body. Cytokines can be pro-inflammatory cytokines such as IL-6 or anti-inflammatory ones such as IL-10, so that when a healthy person experiences acute inflammation, Echinacea will induce the formation of pro-inflammatory cytokines IL-6 to indicate infection, induce the immune system to phagocytosis, and at the same time also induces the formation of anti-inflammatory cytokines IL-10 so that the marking of inflammation is not excessive and also stop the formation of IL-6. <Burger, et.al., 1997>; <Rondanelli, et.al, 2018>
DR. Aswin explained, in an infected body, the role of Echinacea modulation is more towards inhibiting the formation of IL-6, so that the amount of pro-inflammatory cytokines can be reduced. Reducing the amount of IL-6 is needed to reduce the risk of complications due to infection. If the number of pro-inflammatory cytokines is not inhibited, complications can occur in the form of cytokine storms that might be fatal. <Vimalanathan, et.al, 2009><Rondanelli, et.al, 2018>
Based on these explanations, Echinacea is considered safe for consumption and is not contraindicated in cases of infection, one of which is COVID-19. For long-term use of Echinacea according to the recent study, Echinacea is declared safe for continuous consumption for 4 months. <Jawad M, et.al, 2012 & Rondannelli M, et.al, 2018>
"The content of Echinacea purpurea extract on IMBOOST has been clinically proven to modulate the immune system and prevent further spread of infection. While zinc picolinate plays an active role and works synergistically on the immune system, "replied DR. Aswin.
IMBOOST & IMBOOST FORCE have been tested for safety, efficacy, accountable scientific evidence, and have registered and obtained marketing authorization from the National Agency of Drug and Food Control of Republic of Indonesia or NADFC or “Badan POM”, thus IMBOOST & IMBOOST FORCE that has been marketed for almost 20 years in Indonesia, generally declared safe for consumption and beneficial for increasing body defense, if used in accordance with the rules of use. IMBOOST & IMBOOST FORCE can be used routinely for 8 weeks according to the rules of use on the packaging.
dr. Agus Joko Susanto, Sp.PD-KAI, FINASIM stated that the human body's immune system is very complex. The immune system, according to dr. Agus, included an inate and adaptive immune system. The immune system will be in a state of homeostasis (balanced) as long as the human body is healthy. While immunomodulators can be categorised into three classifications, namely immunostimulator, immunosupressor and immunoregulator, all three control and balance each other. If the number of one of them is low, then the number of other immunomudulators will rise, and vice versa until the condition of the body reaches homeostasis.
"Concerns that the immune system will over stimulate if given immunostimulant is not entirely true, because the three things mentioned above will manage to reach homeostasis," said dr Agus.
Related to currently circulating hoaxes, dr. Agus said Echinacea research on COVID-19 had not been performed until now. "In my opinion it is too early to conclude the relationship between the two. Regarding IL-6's problem as a marker, it can be said that it is not certain to be treated as a marker. Because the nature of IL-6 is unique, namely cytokines that are "AC-DC", this means one time IL-6 can be acting as a proinflammatory, at other times it can be acting as an anti-inflammatory. That is why there is often a mismatch between the results of research if IL-6 is treated as a marker of research, "replied dr. Agus.
dr. Agus explained that healthy people may consume immunomodulators. dr. Agus stated that he never gave any statement in support of the hoax that had been circulating. dr. Agus explained that the contraindications to the consumption of immunomodulators only occur in people with autoimmune diseases (survivors of autoimmune). In this group, immunomodulatory administration is not recommended.
Chairperson of the Doctors Association of Indonesian Traditional Medicine and Herbal Medicine Development (PDPOTJI), DR. (Cand.) dr. Inggrid Tania, M.Si., also emphasized that the picture message that states Echinacea and propolis as contra-indications of COVID-19 is false or hoax. Dr Inggrid stated that health supplements, including herbal supplements Echinacea and propolis that have been granted NADFC marketing authorization, have passed safety testing so that is declared safe for consumption.
dr. Inggrid explained that Echinacea has been used empirically for hundreds of years by the world community, especially Western societies. The aim is to maintain health, improve immunity, relieve pain and reduce symptoms of common cold and flu (empirical experiential evidence). Various in-vitro and preclinical studies in the world show that Echinacea is anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and immunomodulatory.
Related to COVID-19, dr. Inggrid said in pneumonia due to COVID-19 there was an increase in pro-inflammatory mediators including IL-6 which hyperinflammation was associated with fatality. In that picture message, it is mentioned that Echinacea increases IL-6. In fact, research results show that Echinacea inhibits / decreases pro-inflammatory mediators, including IL-6.
"Because there are no studies conducted up to now on the relationship between COVID-19 and consumption of Echinacea and propolis, conclusions about COVID-19 are too early. Oversimplification and early jump to conclusion need to be avoided. It is best not to spread picture message without any clear information and reliable sources, given the large impact to public health," said dr. Inggrid.
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