Would Already Infected People Develop Immunity from Coronavirus?
During a July interview with CNN, Kentucky junior Senator, Rand Paul had claimed that he and other people who had contracted the coronavirus pandemic at some point and recovered from it are now immune to the virus.
Paul who is a trained Physician appears to be speaking from a position of authority going by his backgrounds in the health industry. He had said during the interview, ‘there’s millions of us, like me who are immune’. The senator also appears to be suggesting that getting more people infected in order to develop a society that is immune to the virus might be the way to go since there is no vaccine currently. He continued by saying, ‘since we don't have a vaccine, the one way we get immunity is by having more people get it, and I don't think it could be said enough what a positive thing it is to have millions of people who now have immunity because they essentially are now blocking the spread of the virus.’
It must be said that Senator Rand Paul is not the first person to suggest the herd immunity technique as a way to fight the coronavirus. Looking as far back as March, when the first phase of the virus hit the UK badly, the Chief Scientific Adviser, Sir Patrick Vallance had suggested that the UK may have to allow up to 60% of its population to contract the coronavirus in order to enjoy herd immunity and eventually beat the pandemic.
What we can deduce from these two suggestions is that, a lot of people believe already infected people would develop immunity from the COVID-19 pandemic. However, do scientific studies support this claim?
To be clear, there is no scientific justification to support herd immunity as a way of fighting and combating the coronavirus pandemic as of now. In fact, the World Health Organization (WHO) had warned about using the immunity and antibody route to fight coronavirus back in April. Also, in another interview with CNN, a spokesperson of the IDSA had said there is no study as of now which supports the notion that anyone who has contracted the virus can’t be infected again.
Another perspective to consider has to be Sweden, who has been relying on the antibody or herd immunity method in handling the pandemic in its shores. When you consider there are reports about a second wave of infections being reported to be on the way in the country, then, you might want to agree this is not the best method for fighting COVID-19. It should not be quickly forgotten that the UK had to discard their own plans too, and the authorities are still being blamed for not taking actions early enough, something which is seen as the major reason for the high number of infections in the country.
As of the time of writing, there is no scientific finding to back up the claim that people who have been infected already would develop immunity from the coronavirus. As such, Senator Paul’s statement is misleading.