COVID-19: Experts From Spain Doubt Herd Immunity

Doctor wearing mask and COVID-19 gear

The research experts in Spain doubt the feasibility of herd immunity to deal with the COVID-19 pandemic because only 5% population has developed antibodies.

In European countries, Spain is amongst the most affected countries with COVID-19 pandemic. In the medical journal, Lancet, Pollan, and her colleagues conducted a study on approximately 61,000 people. The study reported that in Spain, the prevalence of antibodies against COVID-19 is almost 5%. The study focused on regional, provincial, and national levels, and the researchers observed marked differences in the outskirts and hub of Spain.

Herd immunity is achieved when most of the population becomes infected with a virus and develops antibodies to stop the spread of infection. Usually, an estimated 70% to 90% of the people should get infected and develop antibodies to protect healthy people. 

The authors suggested that even with the increasing infections in Spain, the country has not yet achieved herd immunity. To gain herd immunity, Spain has to pay a considerable price in terms of hospital and health system resources and the collateral damage in the form of increased deaths. 

Pollan and her colleagues reported in their study that,

“Despite the high impact of COVID-19 in Spain, prevalence estimates remain low and are clearly insufficient to provide herd immunity. This cannot be achieved without accepting the collateral damage of many deaths in the susceptible population and overburdening of health systems.”

Considering the low prevalence estimates and high impact of COVID-19, the data lack evidence to provide herd immunity. Therefore, the measures and standards required should be focused to minimize the risk of epidemic in the future. They recommend that,

“In this situation, social distance measures and efforts to identify and isolate new cases and their contacts are imperative for future epidemic control.”

Moreover, the study highlights the similar stats from China and US studies,

“The key finding from these representative cohorts is that most of the population appears to have remained unexposed to coronavirus, even in areas with widespread virus circulation.”

According to the John Hopkins COVID-19 map, Spain has reported 251,789 infections and 28,388 deaths. However, the fatality rate has decreased to single figures for three weeks. 

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