Disease expert mulls “herd immunity” in virus fight

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As health officials, scientists, and governments worldwide continue to seek solutions to curb the coronavirus pandemic, an infectious disease specialist believes a different approach is needed to combat the illness.

Vice President of the Greenville Medical Centre in New York, Dr David Newton, is suggesting that to better understand the virus, pregnant women, the elderly and other people with compromised immune systems could be socially isolated and, under strict guidance, other citizens would be able to develop what he termed “herd immunity”.

“Herd immunity is when you expose a lot of the community or population to the pathological agents so that the body can build soldiers or antibodies [which] diminishes [the disease’s] effect too, because the body spots it, fights it, and it loses its effect,” he said on Observer’s Big Issuesprogramme. 

“There is a school of thought in epidemiology that says you want to expose a lot of the population to the virus quickly — especially since this virus has an 80-85 percent recovery — so we can obtain herd immunity. 

“That is what they do when they vaccinate. They expose a lot of us to viral particles and by doing that the disease does not just vanish into thin air; it was herd immunity so that a lot of people were immune to it.”

Dr Newton also touched on the issue of how testing for Covid-19 is conducted. He believes that with the new approach of conducting a double-blind study, more information will come to the forefront in bettering the relevant individuals’ understanding of this virus. 

To date, there are two main ways to test for infection. One is a very sensitive test that looks for the RNA of the virus using a technique called RT-PCR. This can detect as little as one virus particle in swabs taken from inside the mouth or nose and it was because of its fast results that this test was mostly relied on. 

The second type of testing measures the antibody responses to virus in blood serum.  

“If we are to make any critical engagement in this disease process, we have to do something called the double-blind study which means you get about 10,000 random people and just test them. See what percentage of them are actually positive for this Covid-19 and if they are not expressing any symptoms then it changes how we engage the phenomenon, but here is what we’re leading up to and we see it being said around the world and even in Antigua. 

“You are going to be looked upon as somebody who is a possible vector for this disease unless you have a vaccine,” Dr Newton opined. 

“Do we really want to go there? With vaccines prepared for us by people who don’t look like us and people who already have an agenda for world and global population control?”

 The medical practitioner also spoke to the role vitamins and natural remedies can play in fighting Covid-19.

“Right now, if any of my patients come to me, I give them zinc sulphate … twice a day and they can’t get it unless they are taking 4000mg of vitamin C. And I tell them to make sure to drink tea every day of lemons, turmeric and ginger,” he added. 

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