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People in India have been urged against smearing cow poo over their bodies to guard against Covid-19.
Many have been taking the extreme measure with the country locked in a devastating second wave of coronavirus, with hundreds of thousands of new cases and thousands of deaths every day.
The cow is considered to be a sacred animal by Hindus, and it has been reported that some in the western state of Gujurat have been flocking to cow shelters to cover their bodies in cow faeces and urine.
They believe it will help boost their immunity and stop them getting the virus. If they already have coronavirus they reckon the practice will aid their recovery.
But Dr JA Jayala, national president of the Indian Medical Association, said in a statement: "There is no concrete scientific evidence that cow dung or urine work to boost immunity against Covid-19, it is based entirely on belief.
"There are also health risks involved in smearing or consuming these products, other diseases can spread from the animal to humans."
While cows are not considered to be gods in Hinduism, they are considered to be a sacred symbol of life and earth that should be protected and revered.
Those who have been doing this practice have been hugging and worshipping the cows while the dung dries before washing it all off with milk or buttermilk.
People have used cow poo for centuries to clean their homes because they think it has therapeutic and antiseptic benefits.
But doctors say there is no evidence whatsoever that animal poo will be beneficial in the fight against the killer virus.
Official figures state India has experienced more than 23 million cases of Covid-19 and 254,000 deaths since the pandemic began.
Only the United States and Brazil have suffered more deaths worldwide.
- In the News
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