Too early to identify 'Herd immunity'

When a large number of people develop immunity to a certain infection, then it can be termed as "Herd immunity", but it cannot be detected at this stage as it is too early to come to a conclusion that a certain percentage of people have developed immunity to the H1N1.

According to Dr M Seenappa, former UNICEF Programme Officer, herd immunity can be identified only if a minimum of 85 per cent of the population gets infected with the virus. "Many people may have got infected without showing any symptoms (asymptomatic) and are unaware of it. As the virus is self-emitting, the infected person might have got cured even without the administration of anti-viral drug," he said. It is too early to say anything about "herd immunity" as very small population has actually contracted the virus, till date.

Dr Mishra, Director of National Institute of Virology (NIV), speaking to Deccan Herald said that a study on 'herd immunity' was underway but no conclusions have been drawn yet. "The virus is new and we still need to collect a lot of data to conduct extensive research on it. We cannot conclude anything as of now," he said.

Dr Ravi, HoD of Neuro Virology, Nimhans, also said that it was too early to say anything about immunity among certain number of people. “There is a particular design to conduct such studies and the research methodology has to be framed first to execute it practically. However NIV has a branch here in the City and the study can be extended,” he said.

However, experts have concluded that people who have already gone through H1N1 Influenza have developed immunity considering none of the infected persons have suffered a relapse. Hence, more than 5,800 cases in the country who were tested positive for H1N1 have developed immunity to the pandemic. On the contrary, H1N1 Influenza is prone to mutation. If the virus mutates then people with immunity have chances of contracting the mutated virus again. 

DH News Service

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