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Professor Sunetra Gupta: “Herd immunity probably takes the prize for being the most misunderstood term of 2020.”

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Sunetra Gupta is Professor of Theoretical Epidemiology in the Department of Zoology, University of Oxford and a member of Collateral Global’s Scientific Advisory Board.  In this video Professor Gupta explains herd immunity, highlighting critical details about both the concept and its relevance to the COVID-19 pandemic that are often overlooked in public discussion.

Professor Sunetra Gupta: Herd Immunity, Collateral Global TV (7 mins)

The text below is copied from this, Collateral Global TV’s, video on YouTube HERE.

By Professor Sunetra Gupta, 28 May 2021

The development of immunity through natural infection is a common feature of many pathogens, and we now know that COVID-19 does not have any tricks up its sleeve to prevent this from happening. If it did, it would have posed a serious problem for the development of a vaccine.

That being said, COVID-19 belongs to a family of viruses that do not typically confer lifelong immunity against infection. Most of us have never heard of the other four ‘seasonal’ coronaviruses that are currently circulating in our communities. And yet, surveys indicate that at least 3% of the population is infected by any one of these corona cousins during the winter months each year. These viruses can – and do – cause deaths in high-risk groups or require them to receive ICU care or ventilator support. Hence, it is not necessarily true that they are intrinsically milder than the novel COVID-19 virus. And like the COVID-19 virus, the other coronas are much less virulent in the healthy elderly and younger people than influenza.

One important reason why these corona cousins do not kill large numbers of people is that, even though we lose immunity and can be reinfected, there is always a sufficient proportion of immune people within the population to keep the risk of infection low for those who might die upon contracting it. Also, all of the coronaviruses in circulation — including COVID-19 — have some features in common, which means that getting one coronavirus will probably offer some protection against the others. This is becoming increasingly clear from work in many labs, including my lab in Oxford. It is against the background of acquired immunity to COVID-19 itself, as well as its close relations, that the new virus has to operate.

It is misleading to speak of “reaching” herd immunity. Herd immunity is a continuous variable that increases as people become immune and decreases as they lose immunity or die. There is a threshold of herd immunity at which the rate of new infections begins to decrease. We do not yet have a clear idea of what this threshold is for COVID-19 as the transmission landscape includes people who are susceptible to it, people who have built up immunity to it, and people who have immunity to other coronaviruses.

Unfortunately, we do not have a good way of telling how many people have been exposed to the new virus, nor how many people were resistant to begin with. We can test for antibodies but, as with other coronaviruses, COVID-19 antibody levels decline after recovery, and some people do not make them at all. Thus, antibody levels will not answer this question. More and more evidence is accumulating that other arms of immunity, like T cells, play an important role.

Indications of the herd immunity threshold having been reached in a given location are visible in the time signatures of epidemics where death and infection curves tend to either “bend” in the absence of intervention or to stay down when interventions are relaxed (in comparison with other locations where the opposite happened).  Unfortunately, we do not know how far (or close) we are to that threshold in most parts of the world. This means that we need to make public health decisions based only on limited information and do so in a constantly changing environment.

Focused Protection was initially proposed as a solution for how we could proceed in the face of such uncertainty and it remains relevant now. It suggests that we exploit the fact that COVID-19 does not cause much harm to the large majority of the population and allow those individuals to resume their normal lives, while shielding those who are vulnerable to severe disease and death. We have good information about who falls into these groups and the availability of vaccines, which offer excellent protection for vulnerable populations and guard against hospitalisable illness, provide us with the ideal setting in which to implement such a plan.

Collateral Global is a UK registered Charity dedicated to researching, understanding, and communicating the effectiveness and collateral impacts of the Mandated Non-Pharmaceutical Interventions (MNPIs) taken by governments worldwide in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Collateral Global website: https://collateralglobal.org/ 

Collateral Global TV: YouTube

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kiwi
kiwi
7 months ago

still no isolated sample of this “virus”, how can they still be talking about
a “virus” if they have no sample, if you have no isolated sample how can
you prove the “virus” exists, you can,t
Covid is a ruse to force people into accepting the depop SHOTS

abrogard
abrogard
7 months ago

download and keep the vid. the text supplied is not a copy of the whole thing. she says much more, more information.
she speaks of immune ‘senescence’ which brings up the question of how to bolster the system with aids – i.e. Vit D, Ivermectin.
She also speaks of naive populations which brings up the question of the utility of quarantines because they, of course, quarantine from everything (if they are effective at all – very debatable).
Pretty hopeless with the water analogy. Needs to find another one or just state baldly that you get a certain level of infection and it stays at that level.

Last edited 7 months ago by abrogard
none
none
7 months ago

The development of immunity through natural infection is a common feature of many pathogens, and we now know that COVID-19 does not have any tricks up its sleeve to prevent this from happening. If it did, it would have posed a serious problem for the development of a vaccine.

This is just wrong.

This is not a normal virus. It is a bio-weapon created by the military. They injected HIV-1 and HIV-2 viruses inside of it along with CTX virus and no one knows how many others.

There is no natural immunity against this virus.

No one seems to understand that yet.

Loredana
Loredana
7 months ago

We’ve been living with corona virus for donkeys years – it was called ‘the common cold’. It still is.
Odd how they never mention the other viruses such as Rhino virus which has exactly the same symptoms as corona virus. Rhino and corona viruses alternate seasonally every year. Rhino means ‘nose’. I don’t suppose a Rhino virus pandemic would really have taken off in the same way.
Herd immunity… ‘herd’: “a social group of certain animals” (cows?).

maverick35
maverick35
7 months ago

Yeah, and natural immunity is the most “misunderstood” term of 2021, with the word “vaccine” close behind it.

Cissy
Cissy
7 months ago

Well, who exactly is going to listen to her?

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