Bhopal MP Sadhvi Pragya Singh Thakur recently claimed that consumption of cow urine extract can help keep COVID-19 at bay and that it's a "life-saving" medicine.
"Gau mutra ark (cow urine extract) of a desi cow keeps us away from lung infection. I am in a lot of trouble (health wise) but take the gau mutra ark every day. After this, I am not supposed to take any other medicine for coronavirus. I am not affected by coronavirus infection. I believe God will keep me protected as I am using this medicine of gaumutra ark," PTI quoted the MP as saying at a function in Bairagarh area of Bhopal on May 16, 2021.
In 2019 too, she had also claimed that her cancer had cured due to consumption of cow urine and some mixed ayurvedic herbs.
Surendra Singh, a BJP MLA from Bairia, Uttar Pradesh, had also recently claimed that consumption of 50 ml cow urine mixed with a glass of water can build natural immunity from the virus.
In July, 2020, the Dilip Ghosh, a Lok Sabha MP and West Bengal BJP President while holding a Chai Pe Charcha in Durgapur had stressed on the consumption of cow urine to stay healthy. And Suman Haripriya, BJP MLA from Hajo assembly constituency of Assam said COVID is an airborne disease and can be cured by cow urine and cow dung.
A havan (fire ritual) using cow dung can be performed in China to purify its air quality since Wuhan was the epicentre of Covid outbreak, Haripriya had added.
Factchecker spoke to doctors and health experts and found that poor administrative propaganda and wobbly health care infrastructure in the country has driven the spread of misinformation around COVID cure and prevention.
"Cow urine is an excretory product and majority of the components of urine are metabolized toxins. In human physiology it can be safely believed that this kind of excreta has no positive effects," said Dr Shaukat Ali, Deputy Superintendent, Islamia Hospital, Kolkata.
Dr. Harjit Singh Bhatti, ex-president of AIIMS Resident Doctors' Association and a specialist in geriatric medicine seconded Dr. Ali while saying, "It is preposterous to assume that cow urine can treat COVID. It is just used as a propaganda by the government that feeds on the religious beliefs of people. It can actually be toxic for human body since these are waste products and should be avoided."
"There should be a scientific and proven basis of such sort of claims being made. Health care infrastructure is poor due to lower investment, especially in the rural areas where getting medical aide at this hour could be cumbersome. Moreover, not everyone has access to vaccine in this country. In such a situation, spread of misinformation around usage of locally available ingredients and raw materials as preventive drugs for COVID infection caters to the success of administrative propaganda," added Bhatti.
Factchecker called up Pragya, but she declined to comment on the matter.