They are calling it a great product, almost like a wonder drug. Yet, pharmacists in India are just not stocking it. If it was marketed well, India’s Covid-19 caseload could have finally found an answer to combat the deadly virus.
The product is a lotion, marketed as a cosmetic product and not drug, and has been produced by scientists at the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT). Priced moderately at Rs 280, the Clensta lotion offers 99.9 per cent virus protection with antiviral and antiseptic properties for up to 24 hours. But the billion dollar question is: How many will go online to buy it from the Amazon store?
“The lotion prevents bacterial, viral, and fungal infections without harming the environment and human health and advanced hand sanitiser is formulated with increased alcohol retention time to be an effective prevention against multiple viruses,” Dr Puneet Gupta CEO Clensta International said in an interview. “It is actually a wonder drug for a nation where the vaccine is still at a trial stage.”
Dr Gupta said the biggest challenge is to market the product across India where millions are slowly getting to know how to access and buy the product. “The product can be used over any exposed part of the body including face and hands. The application keeps users safe from viruses by disrupting it for almost 24 hours,” he added.
“It has to be applied near nostrils and exposed parts of the body, like arms,” said Dr Gupta.
Dr Gupta said he was not making a tall claim, the Clensta lotion has been approved by the National Health Authority (NHA) and a host of other bodies like the American FDA.
“It has no side effects and works wonderfully on the skin without any trouble. This is a tested and tried product. We have started selling all over India. The NHA is also recommending the lotion to all the ministries,” said Dr Gupta.
Number of people who recovered from the disease has now crossed 53 lakh pushing the recovery rate to 83.70 per cent, as per a note by the Union Health ministry. But on November 17, 2020, the government released the following data: India recorded 29,164 new COVID-19 infections in the last 24 hours – less than 30,000 in a day for the first time in over four months, government Coronavirus data shows. With this, the country’s total COVID-19 case count since the January outbreak stands at 88,74,291. In the one-day period, 449 people lost their life to COVID-19, taking the overall fatalities to 1,30,519. The Indian Capital recorded 3797 on Monday and 99 deaths.
Union minister for health and family welfare, Dr Harsh Vardhan, said the lotion produced by Clensta International has been selected for the government’s Market Access Programme (MAP), focused on catalyzing access to the market. “The lotion was a winner in the Ayushman Bharat PM-JAY Grand Challenge. We have asked all ministries and state governments to encourage people to use it. We have asked the Delhi government to acquire it for their Mohalla Clinics,” Dr Vardhan said in a brief, telephonic interview.
The minister said now that the product is listed on Amazon, many across South Asia will be able to use the product. “Till we get the vaccine to the masses, this lotion could offer great relief.”
Delhi health minister Satyendra Jain said he was aware of the Clensta lotion but said no decision has been taken by the AAP government in the Indian Capital to distribute it in the AAP Mohalla clinics. “I am aware of the product and its benefits and we are still evaluating whether we should push the lotion to the clinics,” said Jain in a brief interview.
In India, tensions between the Centre and state governments often derail programmes for the masses. State governments try not to push unique products sent by the Centre, there have been occasions when such products are re-labelled as products of the state government and then sent to the masses.
V Ramgopal Rao, Director, IIT Delhi, which incubated Clensta said the protection lotion must reach the masses fast through online purchases and sales at medicine stores. “That is the biggest challenge for this unique product. Experts from the chemical department of IIT Delhi worked very closely to produce this lotion. This is a great shield against Covid-19.”
But then, someone must help reach it to the masses, right? And that can happen only if the Centre and various state governments intervene.