The immunity industry promises a lot more than it delivers

Shivaji Dasgupta writes on the rather alarming trend of different brands rushing in to offer protection from Covid-19

Shivaji Dasgupta
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The immunity industry promises a lot more than it delivers

Shivaji Dasgupta

In this viral age, the immunity industry has developed rapidly and now extends to innovative formats as well. Which includes the traditional wellness-led warriors and does not exclude a slew of unusual categories claiming protection against transmission. Quite remarkably, the regulatory bodies seem to be kinder than necessary and are smoothly permitting dramatic claims to go to market.

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On the usual suspects, Dabur is an actor with pedigree and they have smartly united the multi-sensorial wellness offerings under a common umbrella, which is an act of smart marketing. Patanjali though has claimed a cure for the virus and while this is strictly in the cure domain, the principles of launch are akin to prevention. Most certainly there are many other clones offering a desirable barrier against infection and their adoption is bound to increase in these sensitive times. But then, it is expected that the healthcare industry will respond in such a manner with even the masks playing bridge between action and fashion. Designers have gingerly jumped into the fray and it is a matter of time before this pattern gets rapidly escalated.

What is most interesting though is the extended ambition of seemingly-unconnected players to stake a claim in immunity at large, as an effective shield for the body. The renowned Zodiac shirt brand has an offering with 99% corona protection defended stoutly by technology advancement. Now this is an established and respected brand so this story will attract early office-goers and may well be emulated by others. Another fascinating tale is contactless delivery propagated by luminaries like Domino’s Pizza and it is utterly unbelievable how food can be prepared without human contact. On delivery as well, what is being avoided is the relay like physical handover, while the box is placed by human hands at the designated point. I was in Chaayos recently for a meeting and observed the mediocrity of this protocol as the virus can hang on the paper cup most effortlessly.

To add to the comedy, the West Bengal Government has introduced the immunity sandesh, a delightful way to mix business with pleasure quite like a diabetic drug junkie being injected by marijuana coated insulin. Quite frankly, the possibilities are rather endless as imagination blessed with scalability can come up with the finest solutions. Skin creams and lotions can make such claims, mosquito repellent creams can develop a double role, perfumes can act as sensorial deterrents and even soaps can become superhuman. If shirts can do it then so can every form of attire, including shoes with non-stick soles that deflect the virus and sarees can be once again worn in traditional ways to offer sharper protection. Beers and juices cannot be left behind and nor can crockery and cutlery, in fact every surface of attraction, including sofas, can develop a Teflon-like coating to resist the advances. This is actually a fascinating creative exercise and meaningful as well if the outcomes are true to the promises.

The early returnees to organised hotel stays speak warmly of a whole skew of wishful measures as curtailed service protocols, including the 24-degree air conditioning limit, the doorstep room service and the distancing most certainly. While airlines are preponing the attire of space travel with PPE kits a standard issue for troubled sectors and the luggage handling rituals rather simplified. At a doctor’s clinic I visited recently, the seating has been separated and the number of visitors in the consulting room restricted as a sincere processes for ensuring distance from infection. Once again in every such service sector, the possibilities are truly endless and the efforts justifiably sincere but truthfully, nobody can be certain of any kind of efficacy. A fact proven by the myriad TV shows populated by established doctors who were unable to paint any defensible prognosis and were emulating most sincerely the verdict of in the morning.

The human race is in a deeply insecure state of mind and the role of placebo is more endearing than ever before. Which also means that every agent for the restoration of normalcy is resembling an alphonso mango in the season of alphonso mangoes. This is a goldmine for the devious predator especially since regulators are preoccupied and beleaguered corporations of proven virtue are bending their discerning discretion. Immunity or the larger scope of protection in any valuable format is thus a low-hanging cash cow which must be milked to make businesses survive. It is easy to say caveat emptor but what I must suggest is a karmic element in the scorecard of the corporation, balanced or shaky.

We know for decades that prevention is better than cure but what we know now is prevention saves lives, while cure may kill. Everybody with a viable solution for immunity must dash to the party pronto but in case you are iffy, then kindly hang on to your enthusiasm till some evidence is available.

(Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author. The facts and opinions appearing in the article do not reflect the views of and we do not assume any responsibility or liability for the same.)

Shivaji Dasgupta Inexgro Brand Advisory COVID-19 immunity industry