Fighting Corona: Experts stresses building of herd immunity

Mohammad Al Amin

20th June, 2020 09:46:07 printer

Fighting Corona: Experts stresses building of herd immunity

Health experts are emphasizing building of herd immunity by strengthening preventive measures to control coronavirus situation in the country.  

 “The improvement or deterioration of this corona situation depends on the public health measures taken by a country. If the public health measures do not work properly, improvement will depend on herd immunity, vaccinations, which is yet to come and virus mutations which may change its virulence” Prof Dr Saif Ullah Munshi, chairman of Virology Department at Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib Medical University (BSMMU), told the daily sun.

He said “In fact, we are waiting for the peak time of cornavirus infection in Bangladesh.... only collecting correct data and taking appreciate meaningful public health interventions will determine the rising and lowering the curve. So, the government should collect exact data of the virus infection and strengthen its necessary preventive measures to control the transmission.”

According to health experts, herd immunity is a concept based on the body's immune resistance to the spread of a contagious disease within a population. It is achieved when a significantly high proportion of individuals are vaccinated against a virus and therefore develop immunity.

When enough people are vaccinated, a virus is unable to spread through the population. In absence of a vaccine, it may gain by natural infection with a huge cost of life, they said.

According to Directorate General of Health Services (DGHS), a total of 1,08,775 coronavirus infected patients have been detected, 1,425 people died of the virus infection in the country while 43,993 people were recovered from the deadly disease till Saturday since its first detection in the country on March 8.

Mentioning that achieving herd immunity naturally equals to a public health catastrophe where a huge number of people will get infected and some of them will die, the health experts further said as no vaccines for coronavirus are yet in sight, achieving natural herd immunity in majority of the population of Bangladesh might bring forward a health catastrophe.

“The coronavirus infection has been increasing in the country day by day but we can’t prevent it. And further increase of the virus transmission will be ominous sign for us. If the virus infection increases further then it will be result of remaining silence in preventing it,” said Dr Nazrul Islam, a virologist and former vice-chancellor of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib Medical University.

Mentioning that as long as the government will delay in taking further preventive measures against the coranvirus transmission, the virus will get chance to transmit further, he advised the government to immediately strengthen the preventive measures.

“Now we can’t understand weather we are in peak time of coronavirus infection. It may further increases or decreases. But if we do not take preventive measure, then it may increase further,” said Nazrul Islam, also member of Bangladesh National Advisory Committee on Covid-19.

Bangladesh confirmed its first three COVID-19 infections on March 8 and it took only 103 days to cross the one lakh mark of the detected patients. The detection rate of new patients in the country was recorded 23.09 per cent on Saturday.

Talking to daily sun, Dr ASM Alamgir, Principal Scientific Officer of Institute of Epidemiology, Disease Control and Research (IEDCR) said “The coronavirus may increase further for a few days more and it may decreases in the next week. The virus infection actually will decrease slowly and it may come to bearable stage at the end of the August month this year.”

He feared that the coronavirus will not go away soon from the earth and it will come under control after availability of successful vaccine. “Even, if the vaccine gives lifelong immunity then it may take around two to three years to cover the whole world.”

Dr Alamgir however emphasized on keeping continuation of preventive measures like wearing mask, washing hands, maintaining social distance and others to prevent the coronavirus infection.

Director General of the DGHS Prof Dr Abul Kalam Azad recently said the coronavirus situation will not end within one, two or three months in the world while it will exist in the countries until innovation of successful vaccine and applying it among adequate number of people.

Bangladesh is now on the 15th week of coronavirus infection. The rate of infection remained 20–21 per cent in the past three consecutive weeks — 14th, 13th and 12th week. The rate of infection was below 16 per cent until 11th week and below 14 per cent until 10th week. 

The government on May 31 lifted restrictions on the public movement, resumed public transports services, businesses and offices.