Letters to the Editor — October 13, 2020

Sanitisers and soaps

I write this as the former head, Department of Microbiology, CSIR-Central Food Technological Research Insitute, Mysuru. The report, “Sanitizers, soaps can do damage: experts” (Inside pages, October 12), is likely to send a very wrong message of grave consequences in the present context. There is a confused statement — of intermixing of antibiotics and antimicrobials. Sanitizers and soaps are not antibiotics. They are only antimicrobials meant for surface sanitisation of animate and inanimate objects. For example, one of the common sanitisers used is alcohol (Isopropanol or Ethanol) which is a strong protein denaturant. Its efficacy to inactivate the coronavirus in particular, is assured the moment alcohol comes in contact with the flower-like stubs, the proteinaceous entities projecting on the surface of the coronavirus. Now, soap is a surfactant to remove oil (lipid)-based entities which will target the lipid-based membrane covering the virus. Alcohol-based sanitisers are approved by the World Health Organization and in use for a long time including in medical practice and surgery.

Conventionally, antibiotics are referred to those organic compounds produced by one kind of microorganisms to act against another, say a pathogen. Hence, in nature, the existence of antibiotic-resistant microorganisms can be expected in any ecosystem. It is only by the erroneous use of antibiotics that disturbance has been caused to natural ecosystems and the emergence of antibiotic-resistant pathogenic microorganisms.

Dr. Richard Joseph,


Cooperatives, farming

The Centre has not done its homework before pushing through and passing the Farm Bills in a novel coronavirus-affected Parliament where it bulldozed the Opposition’s voice. Earlier, it failed to interact with farmers’ bodies to understand what they felt. The continuing farmers’ protests are an indicator of the resentment which is spreading across India. The Centre’s pro-urban and pro-corporate policies are explicitly visible, seen in the way it seeks advice from MSMEs and other industrial bodies before framing policies for the manufacturing sector. But never before have farmers bodies been united as seen now. Farmers are apprehensive that the big corporates are going to reap the benefits as most farmers are small and marginal farmers with not much understanding of the commercial issues in these laws. Farmers too are in search of solutions. In such a situation, the role of farmers’ cooperatives need to be explored rather than encouraging industrial corporates who are known to profiteer at the expense of farmers.

Brij B. Goyal,

Ludhiana, Punjab

Pandemic lessons

I find it unfortunate as well as surprising that the Spanish Flu, even with the one of the largest human tolls in modern times by any epidemic, has not found much space in history textbooks. Now, a century later, history seems to be repeating itself. The writer of “Pandemics and the collective consciousness” (Editorial page, October 12) is right in his observations, but one thing needs to be ensured — that we learn the lessons well by not repeating mistakes. This pandemic is neither the first nor the last and we need to be better prepared and equipped to deal with the future.

Ajay Yadav,

Rewari, Haryana

Clay king

Rafael Nadal’s hundredth match win at Roland Garros coinciding with his 20th Grand Slam title is probably his greatest win in Paris. To vanquish the indomitable Novak Djokovic in straight sets is a true achievement. It is stupendous to think that a long-haired teenager who was on the court in 2005 would still be dazzling us a good 15 years later. Retired player Nicolás Almagro remarked that Nadal deserves the Eiffel Tower instead of the French Open trophy. Considering the way Nadal has ruled on the Parisian clay these remarks are justified.

Kannan B.,


The King of Clay has done it again and has shown his insatiable appetite for clay court tennis. The loveable and modest champion has reserved a big chapter for himself in tennis history.

Sanath Kumar T.S.,

Thrissur, Kerala

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