A new paper published in the Lancet medical journal suggests that herd immunity for COVID-19 may be "unachievable." Researchers from the United States and Spain studied more than 60,000 people in Spain and found that just five percent had developed antibodies for the coronavirus.
The researchers found that 90% of patients who tested positive more than 14 days before taking part in the study had the antibodies. Nearly 17% of the subjects who reported having symptoms associated with COVID-19 had antibodies, while one-third of the people with antibodies were asymptomatic.
In order to obtain herd immunity, between 70% and 90% of the population must develop resistance to the virus.
The researches are worried that people appear to lose their immunity to the coronavirus and do not believe we can obtain herd immunity "without accepting the collateral damage of many deaths."
"Despite the high impact of Covid-19 in Spain, prevalence estimates remain low and are clearly insufficient to provide herd immunity," the researchers wrote. "This cannot be achieved without accepting the collateral damage of many deaths in the susceptible population and overburdening of health systems. In this situation, social distance measures and efforts to identify and isolate new cases and their contacts are imperative for future epidemic control."
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