As the number of coronavirus infections increases rapidly, scientists and health experts are clear that herd immunity isn’t going to bail the world from this deadly pandemic.
Herd Immunity is a benchmark which is reached when the majority of the population develops resistance to a contagious disease — thereby developing antibodies that can immune the humans and prevent spread of the virus.
There are more experts chiming in and pointing to the fact that countries should not bank on the development of herd immunity to fight coronavirus — especially young countries like India.
“We are finding that even healthy and young people are getting very ill. We can’t be cavalier about this. We have to protect these people. Herd immunity in India is a terrible idea as millions will die, even young people,” Ashish Jha, professor of Global Health at the TH Chan School of Public Health and Director, Harvard Global Health institute told Congress leader Rahul Gandhi during a live chat. © Indian National Congress Herd immunity in India is a terrible idea, says Harvard Professor
Jha said COVID-19 is here to stay for more than a year and called for aggressive testing to prevent its spread. However, he exuded confidence that a vaccine for coronavirus will be available by 2021.
Previously, WHO Executive Director for Health Emergencies Mike Ryan has also warned that it is “dangerous” to believe that countries which did not implement strict measures to control the virus will develop herd immunity.
Yet another WHO scientist Soumya Swaminathan cited global data to warn that the population immune to coronavirus is too low to be called herd immunity.
“Based on data from many countries that have done sero surveys, it is clear that only a small proportion of 5%-10% people have been exposed to this virus. It will be difficult to achieve herd immunity without a vaccine, the number of people who get ill or die may be unacceptably high,” s aid Dr Soumya Swaminathan, chief scientist, World Health Organization.
According to experts including Ashish Jha aggressive testing is the only solution which can help India contain coronavirus — as it will identify the most vulnerable ones in the country.