As soon as the 2019 coronavirus-nCoV is distributed for the most part of the globe, the debate about the effectiveness of so-called collective (group, herd) immunity continue to rotate in the circles of public health and policy. What is this strategy against infectious disease? Tells Fox News.
“Herd immunity is the protection against infectious disease in the community when a large percentage of usually not less than 60% — has immunity, — told Fox News John white, doctor of medical Sciences, chief physician of WebMD. — People become immune either through infection and recovery — survival — either through vaccination. As most people in the community become immune, fewer people may become infected”.
But the voracity of the infection COVID-19 threatens to destroy health infrastructure that encourages the majority of experts argue that without the vaccine, most likely, the damage will be more than good.
“Herd immunity works best when we have a vaccine, and the disease does not have serious consequences — continues white. — The lack of a vaccine against coronavirus reduces herd immunity, in some people this disease has serious consequences.”
Even when most of the West in early March hastened to limit meetings to public places and to issue orders to stay at home, the United Kingdom has caused a lot of noise, supporting that strategy, based on collective immunity. Instead of imposing harsh measures of social distancing and organize public places, authorities have imposed a soft limit in the hope that a sufficient number of the population will develop a defense that will keep the spread. The country abandoned this plan and also has introduced restrictive measures.
“Initially, the United Kingdom stated that it would rely on herd immunity, but quickly had a course correction, when modeling showed that their hospital system can’t deal with all serious cases — white explained. Even if 80 or 90 percent will get sick in the form of light, 10% is a large number of people to the health system”.
However, other countries such as the Netherlands, continue to apply this strategy, despite the fact that it is considered risky.
“The reality is that in the near future most of the population of the Netherlands will be infected with the virus, said Prime Minister mark Rutte in mid-March. We can slow the spread of the virus, giving the immune system a controlled group.”
He also noted that the creation of herd immunity can go “months or more” and therefore during this time the goal is maximum protection for people at risk such as the elderly and people with weakened immune systems.
According to the world health organization (who), the nature of the pandemic coronavirus requires much more aggressive action. Many experts believe this approach is theoretically sound, but unwise, given the lack of vaccines and the notion that the development of a vaccine will take at least a year.
“The idea underlying the collective immunity is that, when a sufficient number of people and percentage of the population becomes infected and forms an immunity to the virus, its spread in a natural way stops because not many people can get it and pass on to others. Herd immunity basically created vaccines: the team or group becomes immunized, — said Dr. David Nazarian, a doctor from Beverly hills, diplomat American Board of internal medicine and the founder of My Concierge MD. — The problem with the collective immunity of a vaccine is to overload and stress the healthcare system. The reason they spend social isolation at this time, is that too many people are being infected with immediately, and a percentage of them requires hospitalization, we have insufficient health workers, hospital beds and mechanical ventilation devices to assist all patients. This is what we are seeing now in Italy.”
In addition, Dr. Stanley Weiss, Professor of medicine and epidemiology at the Medical school of Rutgers in new Jersey, stressed that the new virus is still too much unknown, the model is still not completed, and this means that herd immunity is simply too risky to rely on in a crisis.
“We expect that after some time this will help to reduce the spread of COVID-19, based on the assumptions that the infected, and recovering people will have protective immunity, said Weis. — However, when SARS protective immunity has limited duration. Thus, precise temporal dynamics can be very important. For example, a repeating wave. We hope, but do not know for sure that these people completely defeated COVID-19 and cannot catch it again”.
He also noted that herd immunity will be effective only on condition that the virus will not change so that he could circumvent this protective immunity, and that other similar, but different from the current and other known coronaviruses do not appear in the future.
However, experts say that herd immunity has played a key role in history.
“Herd immunity and vaccination destroyed two very (contagious) disease: plague, cattle and human smallpox. The verdict is against the coronavirus, said Shahin Lakhan, Vice President for research and development in neurology and progressive diseases from Boston. — This will depend on the immunogenic response of the body to the virus, i.e., what kind of protection the antibodies provide from re-infection”.
And because the vaccine is unlikely to emerge in the near future, medical professionals still hope that herd immunity will be one of the factors that soon will slow the spread.
“The vaccine is an artificial method of immunity, which helps people cope with the virus, while infections are the most natural and effective way to ensure immunity. Both types of immunity are very long, Nazarian said. Is a natural form of immunity from actual infection typically is most effective because it causes a greater production of antibodies and protection against future infections. Ultimately, a vaccine, a large percentage of the population will contract the virus 2019-nCoV, and we have formed a collective immunity”.