Spain's coronavirus antibodies study adds evidence against herd immunity
July 6, 2020. Summarized by summa-bot.
Spain's large-scale study on the coronavirus indicates just 5% of its population has developed antibodies, strengthening evidence that a so-called herd immunity to Covid-19 is "unachievable," the medical journal the Lancet reported on Monday.
Madrid (CNN)Spain's large-scale study on the coronavirus indicates just 5% of its population has developed antibodies, strengthening evidence that a so-called herd immunity to Covid-19 is "unachievable," the medical journal the Lancet reported on Monday.
The European Center for Disease Control told CNN that Spain's research, on a nationwide representative sample of more than 61,000 participants, appears to be the largest study to date among a dozen serological studies on the coronavirus undertaken by European nations.
There have been similar studies in China and the United States and "the key finding from these representative cohorts is that most of the population appears to have remained unexposed" to Covid-19, "even in areas with widespread virus circulation," said a Lancet commentary published along with Spain's findings.
"In light of these findings, any proposed approach to achieve herd immunity through natural infection is not only highly unethical, but also unachievable," said the Lancet's commentary authors, Isabella Eckerle, head of the Geneva Centre for Emerging Viral Diseases, and Benjamin Meyer, a virologist at the University of Geneva.
The Spanish study's lead author, Marina Pollán, who is director of the National Center for Epidemiology, told CNN: "Some experts have computed that around 60% of seroprevalence might mean herd immunity.
The Lancet published results of the first phase of Spain's study, conducted from April 27 to May 11, which showed a nationwide antibody prevalence of 5%.
"With a large majority of the population being infection naïve, virus circulation can quickly return to early pandemic dimensions in a second wave once measures are lifted," the Lancet's commentary authors Eckerle and Meyer wrote of the findings.
Spain's second study phase results were released on June 4, showing a 5. 2% national prevalence, just slightly higher than in the first phase.