Ahmedabad: It has been over a year since the pandemic set foot in the country, but people are yet to understand the science behind it and follow the norms prescribed by experts. Instead, many choose to believe in random things they are told or come across. In a similar set of events, Indian doctors have warned against the practice of using cow dung believing that it will prevent coronavirus, saying there is no scientific evidence for its effectiveness and that it risks spreading other diseases. In Gujarat, some believers have been going to cow shelters once a week to cover their bodies in cow dung and urine in the hope it will boost their immunity against, or help them recover from, the coronavirus, reports news agency Reuters. Also Read - Gujarat Lockdown: Night Curfew to Continue in 8 Municipal Corporations, Timing Reduced by 1 Hour in 18 Cities

In Hinduism, the cow is a sacred symbol of life and the earth, and for centuries Hindus have used cow dung to clean their homes and for prayer rituals, believing it has therapeutic and antiseptic properties. “We see… even doctors come here. Their belief is that this therapy improves their immunity and they can go and tend to patients with no fear,” said Gautam Manilal Borisa, an associate manager at a pharmaceuticals company, who said the practice helped him recover from COVID-19 last year. He has since been a regular at the Shree Swaminarayan Gurukul Vishwavidya Pratishthanam, a school run by Hindu monks that lies just across the road from the Indian headquarters of Zydus Cadila, which is developing its own COVID-19 vaccine. Also Read - Viral Video: Mysterious Bright Lights Spotted Across The Sky in Gujarat's Junagadh, Triggers Speculation of UFOs | Watch

As participants wait for the dung and urine mixture on their bodies to dry, they hug or honour the cows at the shelter, and practice yoga to boost energy levels. The packs are then washed off with milk or buttermilk. Doctors and scientists in India and across the world have repeatedly warned against practising alternative treatments for COVID-19, saying they can lead to a false sense of security and complicate health problems. Also Read - 800 Kg Cow Dung Allegedly Stolen From Chhattisgarh Village, Case Registered

“There is no concrete scientific evidence that cow dung or urine work to boost immunity against COVID-19, it is based entirely on belief,” said Dr JA Jayalal, national president at the Indian Medical Association. “There are also health risks involved in smearing or consuming these products – other diseases can spread from the animal to humans.”

There are also concerns that the practice could contribute to the spread of the virus as it involved people gathering in groups. Madhucharan Das, in charge of another cow shelter in Ahmedabad, said they were limiting the number of participants.

(With inputs from agency)