Covid-19: seeking to achieve collective immunity by letting the virus circulate “is not an option”, for the WHO

“Collective immunity is achieved by protecting people against a virus, not by exposing them to it”, hammered the head of the UN agency, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus.



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Let the virus spread to the population in the hope of building the‘collective immunity’ ? Ten months after the identification of Covid-19, the World Health Organization (WHO) is speaking out against this strategy, mentioned on occasion by certain countries of the world. In a press conference, the Director General of WHO, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, called it unthinkable. “Never in the history of public health has herd immunity been used as a strategy to respond to an epidemic, let alone a pandemic. It is scientifically and ethically problematic.”, did he declare. “It is simply unethical to unleash a dangerous virus, which we do not understand everything about. It is not an option.”, he insisted.

Especially since “Seroprevalence surveys suggest that in most countries, less than 10% of the population has been infected”, he detailed, adding that the world did not know enough about the immunity enjoyed by people who contracted Covid-19. “Most people infected with the virus develop an immune response within the first few weeks, but we don’t know if this response is strong or long-lasting, or if it differs from person to person.“, has explained the Director-General of WHO.

In several countries such as Germany, part of the population, tired of epidemic control measures such as the compulsory wearing of a mask, is loudly demanding their repeal. But “collective immunity is achieved by protecting people against a virus, not by exposing them to it”, hammered the head of the UN agency.

The coronavirus pandemic has claimed more than a million lives worldwide since the WHO office in China reported the onset of the disease in late December. According to the organization, which cites various epidemiological studies, its case fatality rate is around 0.6%. “It may not seem like much, but it is much higher than for the flu”, at underlined the person in charge of the management of the Covid-19 at the WHO, Maria Van Kerkhove.

However, no vaccine against Covid-19 has yet been approved in the world. “There are about 40 candidate vaccines currently in clinical trials, and 10 of them are in phase III, that is to say in the final phase, which will allow us to know both their efficiency and safety “WHO chief scientist Soumya Swaminathan told reporters. She felt that some pharmaceutical groups might have “enough data” to be submitted to regulators “at the earliest from December”. “We expect a number of trials to start providing data in early 2021”.

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