Herd Immunity Against COVID-19 Still Long Way Off: WHO Chief Scientist

London: The chief scientist of the World Health Organisation (WHO), Dr Soumya Swaminathan, has warned that the concept of “herd immunity” (a large section of the population developing antibodies) against COVID-19 is still a long way off and it can be sped up by a vaccine.

In a live social media event organised by WHO on Friday, the scientist said that more waves of the infection would be required to get to a stage of natural immunity. Therefore, at least for the next year or so, the world needs to be “geared up” to do everything possible to keep the novel coronavirus at bay while scientists work on vaccines, she added.

Meanwhile, therapeutics will help keep death rates low and allow people to get on with their lives.

“For this concept of herd immunity, you need 50 to 60 per cent of the population to have this immunity to be actually able to break the chains of transmission,” news agency PTI quoted Swaminathan as saying.

“That’s much easier to do with a vaccine; we can achieve it faster and without people getting sick and dying. So, it is much better to do it that way, to achieve herd immunity through natural infection,” she added.

Also Read: No Return To Old Normal In Foreseeable Future: WHO Chief

The scientist further informed that for the foreseeable future, it is important to be focused on doing the “right thing” such as public health measures that are known to work while the world waits for a vaccine.

Also Read: WHO Lauds India’s Bold, Decisive And Early Measures In Tackling COVID-19 Pandemic

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