Herd immunity was never UK’s corona strategy, chief scientific adviser says

Plan has always been to suppress the peak of the virus, Patrick Vallance tells MPs.

Herd immunity was never UK’s corona strategy, chief scientific adviser says

LONDON — The British government’s Chief Scientific Adviser Patrick Vallance has apologized for not being clear when he previously presented the concept of “herd immunity” as a potential way out of the coronavirus pandemic, saying he didn’t mean that was the government’s plan.

Herd immunity refers to the state where enough members of the population have acquired immunity to a disease so that it cannot spread within that group.

Speaking to MPs on the House of Commons health committee, Vallance stressed Tuesday that when he presented this concept at a press conference in mid-March, he did not mean that the U.K. should try to get immunity through this route. He reiterated that the strategy has always been trying to suppress the peak and keep it below the level at which the National Health Service can cope.

“I should be clear about what I was trying to say, and if I didn’t say this clearly enough then I apologize,” he said. “What I was trying to say was that, in the absence of a therapeutic, the way in which you can stop a community becoming susceptible to this is through immunity and immunity can be obtained by vaccination, or it can be obtained by people who have the infection.”

Vallance is the most senior government figure to have openly discussed herd immunity before the U.K. lockdown was announced. At a press conference on March 12, he said of the coronavirus: “Our aim is not to stop everyone getting it, you can’t do that. And it’s not desirable, because you want to get some immunity in the population. We need to have immunity to protect ourselves from this in the future.”

He fleshed this idea out on BBC Radio 4 the following morning, stating: “Our aim is to try and reduce the peak, broaden the peak, not to suppress it completely. Also, because the vast majority of people get a mild illness, to build up some degree of herd immunity as well, so that more people are immune to this disease.”

At Tuesday’s committee hearing, Vallance said evidence from around the world suggests the vast majority of people who have had coronavirus have “some form of antibody response,” adding that this “looks quite promising.”

However, he cautioned it is not yet known what level of protection people get after being infected with coronavirus. He said experts still need to solve three big questions: what level of immune protection those antibodies confer; whether people acquire absolute immunity, and whether someone can still carry the virus and be infectious after having developed antibodies.

For the latest information and analysis on COVID-19 and its global implications sign up for POLITICO’s Daily Coronavirus Update or update your preferences.

Source : Politico EU More   

What's Your Reaction?

like
0
dislike
0
love
0
funny
0
angry
0
sad
0
wow
0

Next Article

Romanian graftbuster’s firing violated rights, European court says

Preliminary ruling backs Laura Codruța Kövesi, who is now EU chief prosecutor.

Romanian graftbuster’s firing violated rights, European court says

Romania violated the rights of its former anti-corruption chief Laura Codruța Kövesi by dismissing her from the post in 2018, the European Court of Human Rights said Tuesday.

Kövesi, who last year was appointed the first ever EU chief prosecutor, won widespread international praise during her five-year stint as Romania’s top graftbuster for securing convictions of ministers, mayors and other officials on corruption charges.

But Romania’s then-government, led by the Social Democrat Party (PSD), demanded her firing in February 2018, accusing her of overstepping her powers and not respecting parliament’s authority, among other allegations. President Klaus Iohannis signed a decree in July 2018 dismissing Kövesi, despite publicly opposing the move, after the Constitutional Court ordered him to do so.

In its preliminary ruling on Tuesday, the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) declared that the authorities had violated Kövesi’s right to a fair trial and to freedom of expression.

“It appeared that her premature removal had defeated the very purpose of maintaining judicial independence and must have had a chilling effect on her and other prosecutors and judges in taking part in public debate on legislative reforms affecting the judiciary and judicial independence,” the ECHR said in a summary of its ruling.

Kövesi had spoken out against legal changes pushed by the government including an attempt to decriminalize abuse of office. She had also started an investigation into the way the government passed a decree that decriminalized certain corruption offenses, which prompted the biggest protests in the country since the fall of communism.

The ECHR said Kövesi made those comments as part of her job, and her dismissal for them violated her freedom of expression.

Kövesi also had no way to appeal her dismissal in Romania, which violated her right to a free trial, according to the ECHR.

The parties in the case now have three months to decide whether to request that it be referred to the Grand Chamber of the Court for a final ruling. A panel of five judges would then consider if the case requires further examination. If it rejects such a request, Tuesday’s ruling will become final.

Source : Politico EU More   

This site uses cookies. By continuing to browse the site you are agreeing to our use of cookies.