Herd immunity: why the WHO refuses to allow the virus to circulate to reach it

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Since the beginning of the epidemic, "herd immunity" has been presented as a solution to fight the coronavirus. But according to the World Health Organization (WHO), letting the virus circulate to reach it "is not an option." Find out why.

"Group immunity" corresponds to the level of immune protection of a population against the virus. This is the time when the virus stops circulating on its own because many of us have had it. Phenomenon that is explained by the development of antibodies that allow immunization of people affected by the virus.

To curb the Covid-19 epidemic, many countries are betting on herd immunity. But for the World Health Organization (WHO), this strategy is unthinkable. "It is unethical to unleash a dangerous virus that we do not understand everything about. It is not an option," WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said during a virtual press conference from Geneva.

"Herd immunity has never been used as a strategy to respond to an epidemic"

"There have been discussions about the concept of achieving so-called group immunity by letting the virus spread. Group immunity is achieved by protecting people from a virus, and not exposing them to it," said the WHO chief.

"Never in the history of public health has herd immunity been used as a strategy to respond to an epidemic, much less a pandemic. It is scientifically and ethically problematic," said Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus.

According to the WHO, herd immunity is used for vaccination. A population can be protected against a virus "if a vaccination threshold is reached". The organization believes that allowing the virus to circulate would result in "infections, suffering and unnecessary death."

Herd immunity: less than 10% of the population has been infected with Covid-19

According to the UN agency, less than 10% of the population has been infected with the coronavirus. "Most people infected with the virus develop an immune response in the first few weeks, but we do not know if this response is strong or long-lasting, or if it differs from person to person," he warned. the Director-General of WHO. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus recalled that patients infected with Covid-19 contracted the virus for the second time.

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