Explained: What is herd immunity and why India is considered a candidate for it
More than 3 million people have contracted coronavirus and upwards of 200,000 of them have succumbed to COVID-19, the disease resulting from the virus. The fatal virus has brought the world to a juddering halt with most countries across the globe in various stages of lockdown. Four months since its left Chinese shore, however, the world is still no closer to a vaccine against the virus.
Moreover, experts suggest that the disease is here to stay and will keep coming in waves. The highly infectious nature of the virus has made it extremely difficult to contain, and with the likelihood of a vaccine a possibility too far into the future, experts have touted herd immunity as a possible measure against COVID-19.
Some have suggested that India with its young population to be an ideal place to try out herd immunity.
What is herd immunity?
Herd immunity is a population’s resistance against a contagious disease if a sufficiently high number of individuals are immune to the disease. It is generally achieved through immunization.
Can there be herd immunity without vaccine?
In the absence of a vaccine for coronavirus, the premise of herd immunity hinges on the hope of populations living through the virus and developing natural immunity.
If a person recovers successfully from coronavirus, they are likely to have developed sufficient immunity to resist another attack. Similarly, if a large part of the population recovers from the infection, the virus finds it difficult to find and attach to new hosts and stops spreading. Ergo, the population becomes immune.