Spain is far from achieving coronavirus herd immunity: study

A nationwide medical study in Spain shows that achieving nationwide "herd immunity" to the new coronavirus is far from the current reality, news wires reported. Only 5% of the over 61,000 participants developed antibodies that would be able to fight the disease, according to the research partly funded by Spain's Ministry of Health and published in the Lancet Journal on Monday.

The study also found that around one-third of participants who had contracted the virus remained asymptomatic, which the authors say has "important public health implications."

Herd immunity is achieved when enough of a population has become infected with a virus or bacteria, or vaccinated against it, to stop its circulation. "Some experts have computed that around 60% of seroprevalence might mean herd immunity. But we are very far from achieving that number," study’s author Marina Pollan told CNN.

According to the study the results emphasize the need for maintaining social distance measures and continue efforts to identify and isolate new cases and their contacts "for future epidemic control."

The authors said it is unclear whether someone who has been infected with the virus but who has not developed antibodies could be reinfected.

Spain has been one of the European countries hardest hit by the pandemic, with more than 28,000 deaths and 250,000 cases.

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