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Spain antibody survey proves herd immunity is not the way to combat COVID-19

Saumy Deepak Tripathi
Saumy Deepak Tripathi

The COVID-19 pandemic has been spreading all over the world and has infected more than 11 million people. It has killed more than 500,000 people. Every country in the world is scrambling to get a vaccine but it remains a distant possibility for now, the other race is for an effective drug and despite several candidates like Hydrochloroquine, Remdesevir but their efficacy is yet to be proved. The third option countries are mulling over is Herd Immunity in which countries hope that when a significant part of the population gets infected and recovers they develop antibodies and thus the disease is eradicated.

However, a recent study in Spain has suggested that the herd immunity way might not be as effective as first thought. The study titled “Prevalence of SARS-CoV-2 in Spain (ENE-COVID): a nationwide, population-based seroepidemiological study” was published in The Lancet, the medical journal.

The study selected 35883 household by using a two stage random sampling and all the residents’ were invited to participated and a total of 61,075 people volunteered for the project which found that only 5% of the people have developed antibodies and majority of the population have not been infected. Researchers say at least 60% of the population must be infected to achieve herd immunity.

Spain has suffered over 27000 deaths and this shows that a herd immunity strategy will lead to a massive death toll and a huge burden on the health infrastructure. The study has been the largest of its kind

Many experts in India have from time to time floated the idea of herd immunity as the only saviour owing to the large population of the country but after this study it needs a rethink.

The number of infection in the country stands at 700000 and the death rate is 1% and for a population of 1.3 billion 1% is a stark number of casualties.

So, in conclusion the best practise that we can adopt is to follow physical distancing and take all the measures prescribed by the World Health Organisation as the road to recovery is long and hard.

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