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Boston researchers participate in Lancet’s letter rejecting herd immunity strategy

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The authors of the letter included Dr. Nahid Bhadelia of Boston University School of Medicine, Professors William Hanage and Marc Lipsitch of Harvard TH Chan School of Public Health, and Dr. Rochelle Walensky of Harvard Medical School.

The White House accepted a declaration known as the Great Barrington Declaration because it was first signed in Great Barrington, Massachusetts. Authorities are from a group of scientists who argue that the coronavirus should be allowed to spread to young, healthy people while protecting the elderly and the vulnerable. , New York Times report..

This approach suggests that herd immunity, or population resistance to the spread of infection, can be achieved by infecting young people rather than by vaccination.

But experts say that achieving herd immunity through natural infections is not a strategy and should never be done. “Herd immunity has never been used as a strategy to respond to outbreaks in the history of public health,” said Tedros Adhanom Gebreyes, head of the World Health Organization. Said this week.. “It’s just unethical to allow free execution of dangerous viruses that we don’t fully understand.”

The Lancet’s letter argues that “COVID-19’s pandemic management strategy that relies on’immunity from natural infections’ is flawed.”

It raises many issues regarding that idea. The letter argues that uncontrolled spread among young people can lead to serious illness and death throughout the population.

“There is no evidence of sustained protective immunity against SARS-CoV-2,” he said. This means that the virus “may pose a risk to a vulnerable population indefinitely.”

“Such a strategy does not lead to the end of COVID-19, but leads to a recurrent epidemic, as is the case with many infections before vaccination began,” the letter said.

The letter also argued that the strategy would impose “unacceptable burdens on the economy and health care workers,” and warned that scientists still do not understand the long-term effects of COVID-19.

Instead, the letter calls for “effective measures to control and control transmission” and “financial and social programs that foster community response and address pandemic-amplified inequality.”

“Perhaps in the short term, continuous restriction will be required. The purpose of these restrictions is to effectively control SARS-CoV-2 infection at low levels, with rapid detection and rapid detection of local outbreaks. Our economy is inextricably linked to the management of COVID-19. We need to protect our employees and avoid long-term uncertainties. “

With 80 signatories as of the date of publication, the letter is part of a recent wave of criticism of the idea of ​​herd immunity based on natural infections.

The American Public Health Association and 13 other public health groups issued a statement Wednesday, stating that following the Great Barrington Declaration would cost lives “unplanned and unnecessarily.” The statement called the strategy a political statement that “prey on the frustrated masses … sell false hopes that would backfire as expected.”

This strategy is “a peripheral element of epidemiology. It is not mainstream science. It is dangerous. It fits the political views of certain parts of the confused political system,” said Francis Collins, director of the National Institutes of Health. I am. Told the Washington Post.. “I’m sure it’s the idea that someone can wear a mask or skip social distances and wrap themselves up to justify doing whatever they feel sorry for.”

William Hasertin, a former professor of medicine at Harvard University and founder of the university’s Cancer and HIV / AIDS Research Division, told CNN: “Herd immunity is another term for mass murder. Allowing the spread of this virus … kills 2 to 6 million Americans. Not only this year, but every year.”


Martin Finne Cane can be reached at [email protected]..



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