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A new study published in "The Lancet" explains that the idea of achieving "herd immunity" - meaning that a significant portion of the global population has been infected and may be immune to the novel coronavirus - could be difficult to achieve.
An article in "MedCityNews" explains more about about the study in Spain. The piece explains,
"Even in areas hard-hit by Covid-19, few people test positive for antibodies, meaning that hopes for herd immunity against the disease may be futile, according to a new Spanish study.
Conducted by researchers at the Carlos III Health Institute in Madrid and published in The Lancet Monday, the study included 61,075 people in 35,883 randomly selected households throughout the country. After completing a questionnaire between April 27 and May 11 on Covid-19 symptoms, participants received a point-of-care antibody test, followed by a blood draw for a laboratory immunoassay test if they agreed to it. Overall, the study found that only 5% of participants showed a positive result on the point-of-care test, while 4.6% showed a positive result on the lab test. Results varied considerably by region, with residents of Madrid showing a prevalence greater than 10%, while residents of coastal areas showed a prevalence of less than 3%."
The article goes on to say,
“The relatively low seroprevalence observed in the context of an intense epidemic in Spain might serve as a reference to other countries,” the researchers wrote. “At present, herd immunity is difficult to achieve without accepting the collateral damage of many deaths in the susceptible population and overburdening of health systems.”
"Absent a vaccine being proven safe and effective – which may not become available until next year – there was some hope early on among some experts that herd immunity could provide protection against the disease. However, it remains unclear how protective antibodies against SARS-CoV-2 are or for how long. Moreover, countries that attempted to use herd immunity, such as the U.K. and Sweden, have been among those experiencing the most difficulty getting the outbreak under control."
Until an effective therapeutic drug and/or a vaccine, our best defense against COVID-19 is to continue wearing face coverings and continue social distancing.
Click here to read the article in MedCityNews.
And click here to read the study in The Lancet.