In a bid to get back essential workforce in the office, scientists and politicians in the UK have suggested “immunity passports” for those individuals who have had coronavirus. First reported by the Guardian, while German researchers are currently conducting a large scale study into how many citizens have had the COVID-19 infection and are now immune to the pathogen so that authorities would eventually exclude those workers from the restrictive measures that have currently taken a toll on businesses and economy around the world.
The study by German researchers would involve testing of blood samples from at least 100,000 people with coronavirus infection and is scheduled to start in mid-April. The principle of these studies and the UK’s thought of issuing “immunity passports” lies in the presence of antibodies in an individual. That indicates whether the person is capable to fight the COVID-19 disease and it is apparently also an indicator that the individual had been a carrier of the disease in the past. However, the antibody tests for coronavirus which are strongly sought by most world leaders are currently battling with low productions.
It was these antibody tests which UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson, who has been diagnosed with coronavirus, had called a “game-changer”. These special passports would allow certain employees who are either immune or have had coronavirus infection, to get back to work. However, currently, coronavirus is not being tested by antibodies, but by the presence of the virus in the body.
A member of the UK government told an international media outlet that the immunity passports could be specifically used for those key health workers in Britain. However, the same criteria would still be a challenge to practice across the country because it would require greater administration. The British official reportedly also noted that the duration for which an individual would have immunity have contracting COVID-19 still remains largely unknown. As of March 31, UK has reported, 22,141 confirmed cases of coronavirus with at least 1,408 fatalities.
The coronavirus, which originated in China in December 2019, has now claimed over 37,830 lives worldwide as of March 31. According to the tally by international news agency, the pandemic has now spread to 200 countries and has infected at least 786,332 people. Out of the total infections, 165,660 have been recovered but the easily spread virus is continuing to disrupt many lives. Major cities have been put under lockdown in almost all countries including Spain, and the economy is struggling.
The World Health Organisation (WHO) had declared the coronavirus as a global pandemic on March 11 while the virus has now spread to all continents except Antarctica, resulting in the thousands of deaths worldwide. WHO chief Tedros Adhanom further even urged all nations to get very serious over the issue and take all necessary measures to contain the virus from spreading at this rate. Tedros said, that the word 'Pandemic' cannot be used lightly or carelessly due to its strong connotation.