Biswaroop Roy Chowdhury
A simple internet search on Biswaroop Roy Chowdhury who claims he is a “PhD in Diabetes” ,throws up results that claim that he is “a self-proclaimed doctor known for peddling medical conspiracy theories, including denialist conspiracies about Covid-19, HIV/AIDS, and diabetes, for which he has been heavily criticized.” He however likes to describe himself as an “internationally acclaimed Indian Medical Nutritionist having a doctorate in Diabetes from the Alliance International University, Zambi.”
Scores of media outlets have also fact-checked his many ‘medical’ claims such as a recent one on the Covid-19 vaccine. News portal Lallantop fact-checked a claim he signed stating that the Covid-19 vaccine is “injurious to health” and can “cause cancer, impotency, and other complications”. However, the known anti-vaccine campaigner, Biswaroop Roy Chaudhary, has now gathered supporters that include some MBBS doctors, and over a 100 practitioners of Homeopathy, Unani, Ayurveda systems, even herbalists etc., and has written to Prime Minister Narendra Modi that there is “no evidence to prove deaths occurring due to the Novel Coronavirus”!
The claim presented on a rather ‘official looking’ bold letterhead that looks like this:
Apart from the Prime Minister, Roy, has marked the letter head to the Health Minister, AYUSH Minister, all State Chief Ministers, all District Magistrates, all MPs telling them all that “to date there is no proof of deaths due to the Novel Coronavirus” and that the “atmosphere of fear is too prevalent and unavoidable…The constant portrayal of the grim situation coupled with misinformation by the Indian media is farther from the truth.” The letter then goes on to dismiss
RT-PCR tests and selectively quotes various “studies”. It adds that when a person is unwell, “simultaneously various other viruses and bacteria have the potential to infect the person. So, it will be incorrect to label it as an infection solely due to Coronavirus.”
It also criticises the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) guidelines that made it mandatory to conduct RT-PCR test on deceased persons. Roy and co claim that “If the test results are positive, (even if the patient expired due to suicide/accident/any other ailments), the cause of the death will be mentioned as ‘Death due to Novel Coronavirus’.” They collectively ask the PM “to stop the spread of misinformation and fear amongst the citizens. In the absence of any evidence to prove deaths due to the Novel Coronavirus,” and go on to tell him and the minister that “the need of the hour is to halt the ongoing vaccination drive, uplift the lockdown, bring back the normalcy and promote natural immunization.”
It is not yet known if there has been any official response to this. What is more alarming are claims made by Roy that those feeling breathless need to only hold a hand held fan in front of their face and they shall get all the oxygen they need. He has long declared Covid-19 to be a mere “influenza-like illness” which he claims to be able to cure with diet and ‘open air therapy’.
“Our service and support for corona/ covid19/ influenza related issues/ is chargeable,” says his website asking only those who have not been vaccinated, to fill a google form, pay up Rs 500, and get an “EXPERT ASSIGNED” in all caps, to them. He has an opinion on everything, and a microsite called Coronakaal TV to share it.
While most will dismiss Roy’s claims with a laugh, he seems to have an army of ‘supporters’ who keep sharing these claims on social media and getting it covered in hyperlocal youtube channels, thus increasing his digital footprint. It is also a matter of concern, how, in the middle of a Pandemic, where thousands are still dying across the country every day, such claims have so far escaped criminal action under the Epidemic Diseases Act.
Even Patanjali boss Ramdev, was forced to retract his claims that allopathy was a “stupid science” and medicines being used to treat Covid-19 patients, including Remdesivir, Faviflu, and other drugs approved by the Drugs Controller General of India, had have failed to do so. Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan had told Ramdev to “retract his objectionable statements against allopathy” as the issue was raised by the Indian Medical Association’s (IMA). The IMA’s Uttarakhand branch has also slapped a defamation notice of Rs 1,000 crore on Ramdev.
Perhaps Biswaroop Roy Chowdhury gets his confidence from the likes of Surendra Singh, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) MLA from Bairia in Uttar Pradesh, who has been actively promoting cow urine or gaumutra claiming it can stop Coronavirus in its tracks. He too has so far escaped the law.