Globally the virus COVID-19 has claimed at least 206,567 lives since its outbreak in China in December and more than 2,961,540 cases were registered in 193 countries and territories and out of these cases, at least 809,400 are now recovered.
India is trying hard to deal with COVID-19 along with other countries; this deadly battle can only be won through effective strategy. Many countries are trying to find vaccines but it’s a difficult task and will take time.
India has 66,330 confirmed cases of coronavirus and out of which 48, 5333 has recovered and at least 3583 have died. In this situation the only way with India is to resort to plan B to fight against the coronavirus is through “Herd Immunity”.
Herd immunity is when the lade part of the community becomes immune to an infectious disease, which effectively stops the disease from spreading and protects the entire community.
Renowned Immunologist and Cell Biologist Dipyaman Ganguly while speaking to news 18 on Thursday said that –“this coronavirus is not going anywhere. Viruses don’t go anywhere. They may become weak but its strands remain. The virus will keep infecting people unless a large population develops immunity against it”.
While herd immunity has been tested in countries like Sweden and UK and Sweden the epidemiologists had said that its working and many of the countries have considered it but rejected because of its high risk of causing deaths.
The World Health Organization has also said that only about 2-3% of the global population appears to have antibodies. Experts have suggested only allowing younger people to become infected and to isolate the older population.
Researchers at Princeton University and The Centre for Disease Dynamics, Economics and Policy (CDDEP) – a public health advisory group based in New Delhi and Washington saying that this strategy could work in a country like India as the young population has faced fewer chances of hospitalization and deaths due to the coronavirus and suggested that Indians can attain herd immunity among 60% of its population within 7 months or early as December-if India’s strict lockdown is lifted and letting younger population less than 60 to get back to its normal life.
India is most desirable for herd immunity as 82% population is less than 50 who if infected will have mild symptoms; their crude case fatality is less than 0.2%. while another 8% is between 50-59, having a crude case fatality of 0.4-1%and if they resume normal life they will get expose to virus and most than 99.7% will attain immunity.
A prominent Indian epidemiologist, Jayaprakash Muliyil told that-“No country can afford a prolong period of lockdown and least of all a country like India”. “You may be able to reach a point of herd immunity without infection catching up the elderly. And when the immunity reaches a significant number the outbreak will stop and the elderly are also safe.”
But the impossibility of social distancing in crowded places and the high population in India, lack of testing kits, and high rates of hypertension and diabetes, which comprise their immune system are an additional problem in India’s youth.
Officially, the Indian government has not started such efforts or indicated any plan to adopt herd immunity as the strategy to fight with COVID-19.