UN warns against pursuing herd immunity to stop coronavirus

LONDON (AP) — The head of the World Health Organization warned against the idea that herd immunity might be a realistic strategy to stop the pandemic, dismissing such proposals as “simply unethical.”

At a media briefing on Monday, WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said health officials typically aim to achieve herd immunity by vaccination. Tedros noted that to obtain herd immunity from a highly infectious disease such as measles, for example, about 95% of the population must be immunized.

“Herd immunity is achieved by protecting people from a virus, not by exposing them to it,” he said. Some researchers have argued that allowing COVID-19 to spread in populations that are not obviously vulnerable will help build up herd immunity and is a more realistic way to stop the pandemic, instead of the restrictive lockdowns that have proved economically devastating.

“Never in the history of public health has herd immunity been

Read More

A vaccine can provide better immunity than infection, expert says

Two recent studies have confirmed that two people previously infected with SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes Covid-19, can be reinfected with the virus.

a person wearing a mask: vaccine trial latino black nws orig_00001709.jpg

© Provided by CNN
vaccine trial latino black nws orig_00001709.jpg

Interestingly, the two people had different outcomes. The person in Hong Kong showed no symptoms on the second infection, while the person from Reno, Nevada, had a more severe version of the disease the second time around. It is therefore unclear if an immune response to SARS-CoV-2 will protect against subsequent reinfection.

Does this mean a vaccine will also fail to protect against the virus? Certainly not. First, it is still unclear how common these reinfections are. More importantly, a fading immune response to natural infection, as seen in the Nevada patient, does not mean we cannot develop a successful, protective vaccine.

READ MORE: Big pharma’s safety pledge isn’t enough to build public confidence in a

Read More

Trump advisers consult scientists pushing disputed herd immunity strategy

Mainstream medical and public health experts say that seeking widespread, or herd, immunity in the manner the scientists prescribe could result in the deaths of hundreds of thousands or even millions more U.S. residents.

The trio, who Azar described as “three distinguished infectious disease experts,” favors moving aggressively to reopen the economy while sidelining broad testing and other fundamental public health measures. “Three months, maybe six is sufficient time for enough immunity to accumulate … that the vulnerable could resume normal lives,” Gupta said Monday night in appearance on Laura Ingraham’s Fox News show.

That aligns with the “herd-immunity” strategy endorsed by Atlas, who Bhattacharya said was their “point of contact” for the meeting. Atlas, a neuroradiologist and senior fellow at Stanford University’s Hoover Institution, has emerged as a favored adviser to the president despite his lack of expertise in public health, infectious disease or epidemiology, and his skepticism of

Read More

35-year study hints that coronavirus immunity doesn’t last long

Coronaviruses that cause the common cold can infect people repeatedly, hinting that immunity to the novel coronavirus that causes COVID-19 might be similarly short-lived.

a close up of a flower: coronavirus being surrounded on left side by antibody molecules

© Provided by Live Science
coronavirus being surrounded on left side by antibody molecules

In a new study, published Sept. 14 in the journal Nature Medicine, scientists monitored 10 individuals for more than 35 years to determine how often they became infected with the four known seasonal coronaviruses. Since these viruses — known as HCoV-NL63, HCoV-229E, HCoV-OC43 and HCoV-HKU1 — either cause mild symptoms of the common cold or no symptoms at all, the team periodically screened the participants’ blood for antibodies to spot new cases of infection. 

When blood samples show an increase in the number of antibodies targeting a specific virus, as compared with prior samples, that means that the person’s immune system is fighting off a new infection. The researchers determined how

Read More

California cases up, herd immunity a long way off


COVID-19 widespread testing is crucial to fighting the pandemic, but is there enough testing? The answer is in the positivity rates.


Americans have a long way to go for “herd immunity” given that only about 9% of adults in the U.S. have been exposed to COVID-19. That’s according to the largest study so far that looks for evidence of the disease in peoples’ blood.

California’s health secretary said Friday that there have been increases in the number of newly confirmed cases, hospital emergency department visits for COVID-19 and new hospitalizations for confirmed or suspected cases.

And in Florida, Gov. Ron DeSantis lifted restrictions on restaurants and other businesses in a move to reopen the state’s economy despite the spread of the coronavirus.

Some significant developments:

  • California is seeing a concerning uptick in cases, which appear to be attributable to gatherings around Labor Day.
  • Texas A&M’s Midnight Yell
Read More

National Coronavirus Antibody Study Suggests Herd Immunity ‘Remains Out of Reach’ in the U.S.

Results of a nationwide COVID-19 antibody study indicate herd immunity “remains out of reach” in the U.S., with less than 10 percent of participants testing positive for proteins that could potentially offer protection from repeat infections.

Health care workers obtain blood samples while conducting rapid COVID-19 antibody tests in San Dimas, California, on July 26. Results of a new study suggest less than 10 percent of the U.S. population had COVID-19 antibodies in July.

© ROBYN BECK/AFP via Getty Images
Health care workers obtain blood samples while conducting rapid COVID-19 antibody tests in San Dimas, California, on July 26. Results of a new study suggest less than 10 percent of the U.S. population had COVID-19 antibodies in July.

The study— conducted by Stanford University researchers in July and published by peer-reviewed medical journal The Lancet on Friday— evaluated the presence of COVID-19 antibodies in blood samples from 28,500 dialysis patients across 46 states. It is one of the largest studies of its kind conducted to date in the U.S.

Based on the data collected, researchers estimate roughly 9.3 percent of the country’s population had COVID-19 antibodies in

Read More

In Brazil’s Amazon a COVID-19 Resurgence Dashes Herd Immunity Hopes | World News

BRASILIA (Reuters) – The largest city in Brazil’s Amazon has closed bars and river beaches to contain a fresh surge of coronavirus cases, a trend that may dash theories that Manaus was one of the world’s first places to reach collective, or herd, immunity.

When a large portion of a community becomes immune to a disease, its spread becomes unlikely.

University of Sao Paulo researchers suggested that a drastic fall in COVID-19 deaths in Manaus pointed to collective immunity at work, but they also believe that antibodies to the disease after infection may not last more than a few months.

Local authorities on Friday enforced a 30-day ban on parties and other gatherings, and restricted restaurant and shopping hours, a setback for the city of 1.8 million after the worst of the pandemic seemed to be behind them.

In April and May, so many Manaus residents were dying from COVID-19

Read More