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Herd Immunity Against Covid-19 Is Not Yet Possible, Says DG

Herd Immunity Against Covid-19 Is Not Yet Possible, Says DG

Akmal Hakim

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The chances of Malaysians developing herd immunity against Covid-19 is slim.

According to the Director-General of Health, Datuk Dr. Noor Hisham Abdullah the possibilities of developing a situation where large parts of the population can develop an immunity to the Covid-19 virus and in turn curb the spread of the pandemic is still being studied by global experts.

The DG speaking during a public briefing on Covid-19 updates on May 6.
(Credit: Facebook/Kementrian Kesihatan Malaysia)

The term herd immunity, as the name would suggest, essentially means a state of communal protection against a particular disease by having members of the population immune to infection.

Picture it like having a protective barrier made out of ordinary people.

As more and more people become immune to a particular virus, the less chance an infection can spread among the community to form an outbreak.

How herd immunity is supposed to work.
(Credit: The Conversation)

The DG clarifies that even though patients can fully recover from the viral infection, it is still unknown whether a person can in fact develop an immunity to the contagion and not get reinfected.

The doctor explained that although patients infected with Covid-19 do produce IgM (immunoglobulin M) and IgG (immunoglobulin G) antibodies – think of antibodies as our body’s natural pathogen killers that protect us from getting sick -  against the virus, there was no guarantee that recovered patients won’t get infected again.

And as the world still endeavors on developing a vaccine for the Covid-19 pandemic, Dr. Noor Hisham reminds Malaysians to maintain social distancing and hygiene practices even with looser restrictions during the imposed Conditional Movement Control Order (CMCO).

person in blue knit cap holding clear glass tube
Experts estimate that it could take years to develop a credible vaccine for Covid-19.
(Credit: Dimitri Houtteman/Unsplash)

According to the DG, even though the country successfully managed to bring the infection curve under control, the rakyat must not become careless and lose sight of the dangers of the pandemic.

Dr. Noor Hisham says that the country was now focusing on more targeted approaches in dealing with the nation’s outbreak.

The Health Ministry (MOH) is concentrating efforts on detecting and preventing further spread of the virus on targeted groups like the tabligh cluster and the latest foreign and migrant worker cluster.

As of writing, Malaysia’s total number of positive cases is 6,428 though more than 4,000 people are already recovering from the disease.


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