The number of confirmed cases of Coronavirus in India has crossed 40, and the panic is very, very real. Around the country, people are scurrying to get their hands on N95 masks and sanitizers with 60 percent or more alcohol to keep the virus at bay. But, in case your local pharmacy has run out of sanitizers, there's always the Cowpathy "alcohol free" sanitizer you can opt for.
No, we aren't kidding.
Amazon is selling a hand sanitizer by a brand named Cowpathy, and it has been described as a vegan product. "Distilled Cow Urine, obtained from Indigenous cows is gelled with aromatic essential oil and Ganga jal to make antiseptic Cowpathy Alcohol free Hand Sanitizer," the product description reads.
In case you were wondering, it doesn't smell of cow urine. At least, that's what the description says. Oh, and it comes in two flavours - lemon and orange.
Now here's the catch- the sanitizer is alcohol free. Umm, what? Isn't that the whole point of a sanitizer? The Centre for Diseases Control and Prevention has a very detailed blog on why sanitizers with a minimum of 60 per cent alcohol content are essential to kill microbes that may be in your hand.
A few days ago, the WHO too had issued an advisory which specifically mentioned that washing hands for at least twenty seconds and cleaning your hands with powerful sanitizers are your best shot at avoiding coronavirus.
ProPublica had done a piece on how frenzied consumers weren't really paying attention to the composition before stocking up on sanitizers. Many brands, like Cowpathy, are selling alcohol free sanitizers which may help you maintain hygiene but won't do anything to kill the germs on your hand. In other words, Cowpathy won't protect you from coronavirus.
To be fair, the product has been on Amazon since 2018; nevertheless, the brand has recently gained recognition in light of the coronavirus scare after screenshots were shared on Reddit.
Ah, maybe this is what BJP MLA Suman Haripriya meant when she said that gaumutra, or cow urine, is the remedy for coronavirus.