Hyderabad: In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, prime minister Narendra Modi had once again called for citizens of India to unite and ‘come together against fighting the virus’. On April 3, he announced that Indians should join to light lamps at 9pm on Sunday, that is April 5, to unite in the fight against the novel coronavirus.

The prime minister’s statement has invoked several reactions among the general public. Among this, one video of Mr. K K Aggarwal, former head of Indian Medical Association (IMA), has gone viral. The doctor claims that ACE-2 receptors, which influence COVID-19, will change through ‘collective consciousness’ while lighting the lamps together. However, are the claims in this viral video true?

Fact Check:

The video of Dr. KK Aggarwal, which has been doing the rounds in social media over the past two days, tries to explain how lighting lamps will pose a threat to the novel coronavirus. The doctor is a Padmashri Awardee and former national president of the Indian Medical Association. In the wake of COVID-19, he has regularly been reaching over to people on his show ‘Corona ki Baatein’ via Facebook Live.

This video was tweeted, though for a short time, by MyGovIndia, a Government of India website, before being deleted.

Fact Check Doctor Inside

In the video that has gone viral, the doctor claims that acting on ‘collective consciousness’ will prevent the virus from reaching you. He says, “Modiji’s request of 5 April 9 pm for 9 minutes: to pray with a lighted lamp is based on Yoga Vasishta, Chapter 6, the principle of collective consciousness. Which means,95 percent of the people will act the way 5 people think.”

“In our body whatever ACE-2 receptors are there, the strength to heal this is provided by the collective consciousness, based on quantum principle,or Rithambara Pragya principle. If all of us collectively think that our ACE-2 receptors won’t catch coronavirus in us, the collective consciousness will make sure that this will happen. Let us come together and listen to Modi,” he added.

However, the claims made by this doctor as FALSE.

The text that the doctor has quoted- Yoga Vasishta Sara- is a Sanskrit treatise on philosophy, traditionally attributed to Valmiki, the author of Ramayana. However, chapter 6 of Yoga Vasishta is named as ‘Meditation on the Self’ and talks of the philosophical idea of consciousness. There is no mention of ‘collective consciousness’ or the assumption that if 5 percent people think in a manner, 95 percent will follow, as claimed by the doctor.

Secondly, the doctor has invoked ‘ACE- 2 receptors’ to justify the act of lighting lamps and its correlation with the collective consciousness. This claim is also FALSE.

ACE-2 receptors refers to the Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2 (ACE-2), which is the “host cell receptor responsible for mediating infection by SARS-CoV-2, the novel coronavirus responsible for COVID-19. Treatment with anti-ACE-2 antibodies disrupts the interaction between virus and receptor”.

Several scientists have debunked this idea arguing that functions of ACE-2 receptoors will not change through wilful thinking alone. Prof. Rakesh Mishra, the director for Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology (CCMB) Hyderabad said, “Simply put, ACE-2 receptors provide the signal for COVID-19 to enter our bodies. The virus gets attached to our body due to the structure of the ACE-2 receptor. But to say that thinking about a certain ‘collective consciousness’ and willing it to stop coronavirus is nonsensical. COVID-19 is a virus, whose entry into the body has a scientific explanation. Lighting lamps can be only a gesture at most, it cannot ‘stop’ the virus scientifically,” he said.

Several other videos have also gone viral claiming the astrological significance of 9 pm in stopping COVID-19. However, scientists have appealed to the public to not believe such false statements.

Amritha Mohan

Amritha Mohan is a reporter at the NewsMeter. Shortly after completing her Master's in Communication at the University of Hyderabad, she began teaching courses on media and culture as a guest lecturer at the Department of Journalism and Mass Communication, North-Eastern Hill University (NEHU), Shillong. Amritha has previously interned with news organisations such as Greater Kashmir and Newslaundry. A lover of travel and photography, she spends most of her time planning road trips to the North-East. Nothing makes her happier than a green turf and a team to play football with. She primarily reports on education, tech, human-interesting and critical features.

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