Home International Desperate Indians using cow dung as Covid-19 repellent

Desperate Indians using cow dung as Covid-19 repellent

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As the Covid-19 pandemic continues to bring devastation in India, some are trying alternative methods to protect themselves and their families from the virus.

In this Saturday, Nov. 17, 2012 photograph, an Indian village woman makes cow dung cakes, with bare hands on the banks of the River Ganges in Allahabad, India. Cow dung cakes are a major source of domestic fuel for rural households and an environment friendly alternative to firewood. (AP Photo/Rajesh Kumar Singh)

Cape Town – As the Covid-19 pandemic continues to bring devastation in India, some are trying alternative methods to protect themselves and their families from the virus.

In the state of Gujarat, India, it has been reported that some have been covering their bodies in cow dung and urine in the hope it will protect them from the virus, help them recover or build immunity against it.

President at the Indian Medical Association, Dr JA Jayalal, spoke to Reuters and said there is no scientific evidence that would suggest the use of cow dung or urine would help to boost immunity against Covid-19.

“There are also health risks involved in smearing or consuming these products – other diseases can spread from the animal to humans,” he told the news publication.

India has recorded the world’s sharpest spike in coronavirus infections this month. The country has recorded over 22.7 million Covid-19 cases and over 246 000 deaths.

First identified in India, the B.1.617 coronavirus variant is attributed to have been the driving force behind the country’s second wave.

The cow is considered to be a sacred symbol of life and earth in Hinduism. According to ‘Ayurveda’ or the ancient Indian science of life, cow products like dung, milk and urine have healing properties.

Many rural Indian homes use cow dung to pave floors.

In April, large crowds gathered at Kairuppala village in Andhra Pradesh as part of Ugadi, the Telugu new year, where groups of people threw cow cakes at each other as part of a tradition.

WHO’s technical lead for Covid-19, Maria Van Kerkhove, said during a press briefing on Monday that the organization is reclassifying the Covid variant spreading in India as a “variant of concern,” indicating that it’s become a global health threat.

Preliminary studies have found that the virus variant can spread more easily than the original virus and there is some evidence it may be able to evade some of the protections provided by vaccines.

Four cases of the dominant variant in India (B.1.617.2) were detected in South Africa over the weekend and 11 of the dominant variant in the UK (B.1.1.7).

Two people from Gauteng and another two from KwaZulu-Natal, all with the B.1.617.2 strain, all had a history of recent arrivals from India.

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