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Year : 2020  |  Volume : 14  |  Issue : 4  |  Page : 295-296

Lessons learnt from the Spanish Flu pandemic

Central Council for Research in Homoeopathy, New Delhi, India

Date of Submission24-Sep-2020
Date of Acceptance23-Oct-2020
Date of Web Publication29-Dec-2020

Correspondence Address:
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/ijrh.ijrh_96_20

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How to cite this article:
Nahar KH. Lessons learnt from the Spanish Flu pandemic. Indian J Res Homoeopathy 2020;14:295-6

How to cite this URL:
Nahar KH. Lessons learnt from the Spanish Flu pandemic. Indian J Res Homoeopathy [serial online] 2020 [cited 2021 Apr 11];14:295-6. Available from: https://www.ijrh.org/text.asp?2020/14/4/295/305259

Dear Editor,

I have read the discussion article entitled, 'Homoeopathy in pandemic Spanish flu 1918', by the author Shinde[1] published in the Indian Journal of Research in Homoeopathy. I wish to congratulate the author for this successful discussion article while making contributions to our homoeopathic academic field. In this discussion article, the author has distinctly indicated that the Homoeopathic system of medicine has proved its mantle in the past epidemics such as the Spanish Flu and holds massive potential in the wake of COVID-19 disease. This global pandemic continues to grow by each hour and has pushed the entire world towards mitigation tactics that were once applied in the times of Spanish Flu. The effective containment measures, unprecedented lockdowns and cordon sanitaire in 2020, almost draw a similar picture of the frightful past of 1918. Although the probability of the mortality rate of COVID-19 reaching close to that of the Spanish Flu outbreak seems remote, a stark comparison can be drawn between the two epidemic diseases [Table 1].
Table 1: Comparison of Spanish flu and COVID-19

Click here to view

As the countries grapple with the spiralling case counts and overrun emergency rooms, an intense fight is ongoing to control this pandemic's narrative. The author has rightfully sketched the rich history of Homoeopathy in the times of Spanish Flu (1918) claiming excellent recovery rate and decreased mortality with Homoeopathy as compared to any given treatment procedure of that time, but this also raises two key questions in front of the Homoeopathic community to contemplate upon. First, would it be justified for the homoeopathic global fraternity to move ahead with extreme optimism or idealism in believing that Homoeopathy will give the same triumphant result this time too as effectively demonstrated during the times of Spanish Flu? Will the new deadly COVID-19 disease provide the Homoeopathic global fraternity a universal opportunity to prove itself as an evidence-based medicine? And, second, does the evidence discussed in the article wraps the global Homoeopathic fraternity in an intense false hope that correct research strategies and research methodologies were not used while recording the results in the times of Spanish Flu, upheaving one more research challenge to fill gaps into. We shall also question that, is mitigation approach the only option to stop COVID-19 spread as was seen in the Spanish Flu? A comparison of mitigation approach with Homoeopathy was not done at that time. Shall we now ponder upon comparing both strategies in order to furnish our global policymakers some food for thought?

With advances in public health, improved standard of living and mitigating policies at play, the future scenario of COVID-19 cannot be predicted with certainty. However, amidst crowding, rapid global movement, public health crisis and geopolitical rivalries, a fierce struggle is underway that command us to learn from the past pandemic.[12]

Financial support and sponsorship


Conflicts of interest

None declared.

  References Top

Shinde VH. Homoeopathy in pandemic Spanish flu 1918. Indian J Res Homoeopath 2020;14:152-8.  Back to cited text no. 1
Glezen WP. Emerging infections: pandemic influenza. Epidemiol Rev 1996;18:64-76. doi: 10.1093/oxfordjournals. epirev.a017917.  Back to cited text no. 2
PTI. India's Covid fatality rate among lowest in world at 1.76%, says health ministry. Available from: https://theprint.in/india/indias-covid-fatality-rate-among-lowest-in-world-at-1-76-says-health-ministry/494243. [Last accessed on 23 Dec 2020].  Back to cited text no. 3
Global News. Canada. Here's How the Spanish Flu is Similar and Different from the Corona Virus. Available from: https://globalnews.ca/news/6707118/coronavirus-spanish-flu- comparison/. [Last accessed on 2020 Aug 24].  Back to cited text no. 4
Kilbourne ED. Influenza pandemics of the 20th century. Emerg Infect Dis 2006;12:9-14.  Back to cited text no. 5
Wang D, Hu B, Hu C, Zhu F, Liu X, Zhang J, et al. Clinical characteristics of 138 hospitalized patients with 2019 novel corona virus-infected pneumonia in Wuhan, China. JAMA 2020;323:1061-9.  Back to cited text no. 6
Berglund H, Den SK. Allmänna Svenska Läkartidningen. Vol. 15. 'Spanskasjukans' Kliniskabild; 1918. p. 1696-701.  Back to cited text no. 7
Holtenius J, Gillman A. The Spanish flu in Uppsala, clinical and epidemiological impact of the influenza pandemic 1918-1919 on a Swedish county. Infect Ecol Epidemiol 2014;4:10.3402/iee.v4.21528. Published 2014. doi:10.3402/iee.v4.21528.  Back to cited text no. 8
Erkoreka A. Origins of the Spanish Influenza pandemic (1918-1920) and its relation to the First World War. J Mol Genet Med 2009;3:190-4.  Back to cited text no. 9
Crosby AW. America's Forgotten Pandemic: The Influenza of 1918. 2nd ed. United Kingdom: Cambridge University Press; 2003.  Back to cited text no. 10
Tsoucalas G, Karachaliou F, Kalogirou V, Gatos G, Mavrogiannaki E, Antoniou A, et al. The first announcement about the 1918 “Spanish flu” pandemic in Greece through the writings of the pioneer newspaper “Thessalia” almost a century ago. Infez Med 2015;23:79-82.  Back to cited text no. 11
Time. Corona Virus Brief. As the first Corona Virus Vaccine Human Trials Begin, Manufacturer is Already Preparing to Scale Production to Millions. Available from: https://time.com/5807669/coronavirus-vaccine-moderna/.[Last accessed on 2020 Sep 08].  Back to cited text no. 12


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