What Is Herd Immunity And Can It Help Flatten The Coronavirus Outbreak's Curve?


What is herd immunity? Can this approach help flatten the curve of the ongoing Coronavirus pandemic and save millions of lives?

Written By Amir Khollam | Mumbai | Updated On:
what is herd immunity

The ongoing concern about the Coronavirus outbreak has evidently put many medical professionals, scientists and people in general in a conundrum which is also accompanied by paranoia.

The ongoing Coronavirus pandemic has taken over the world at a rapid pace and one of the most vulnerable places to the virus turned out to be the United Kingdom. It was then revealed by UK's Chief Scientific Advisor Sir Patrick Vallance that the concept of herd immunity would have to be adopted in order to fight the virus. But what really is herd immunity? 

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Herd Immunity - a simple explanation

Sir Patrick Vallance's theory suggests that about 60 per cent of the population in the UK need to get affected by the virus in order to build some degree of immunity towards it. However, his views about tackling the virus are being criticised now across the globe.

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Herd immunity is an outcome of a majority of people getting infected with a certain virus in order to break its chain of transmission. Reports suggest that as more and more people get infected with the virus, the immune system helps people to survive the infection and develop an immunological memory. When the same virus is later introduced to the body, the immunological memory then helps the immune system to combat the infection with ease. 

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Though this looks like a solution to the ongoing Coronavirus pandemic, it also puts the lives of millions at a risk. Besides it, Zhong Nanshan, a renowned respiratory specialist from China has debunked UK's herd immunity plan already by stating that the novel Coronavirus is a highly infectious virus. And furthermore, people and governments cannot rely upon herd immunity in order to get rid of it. While speaking at a press conference, Zhong Nanshan has revealed that there is no evidence available yet which proves that humans can develop a lifelong immunity against the Coronavirus. Thus, using the herd immunity approach to curb the issue can actually lead to dangerous outcomes. 

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