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The term “herd immunity” refers to means of protecting a whole community from any infectious disease by immunizing a critical mass or an adequate number of its populace.
How does herd immunity cocoon the most vulnerable ones in a community?
Just as a herd of cattle or sheep uses sheer numbers to protect its members from predators (stronger ones among the herd staying at the periphery to guard against attacks or intrusions), herd immunity protects even those who haven’t been immunized, i.e. the weaker ones in the community. It breaks the chain of an infection’s transmission by virtue of sheer numbers of people “immune” to the disease. More the members of a human “herd” immune to a given disease, better protected the whole population will be from its outbreak.
Herd immunity, or community immunity, as it’s sometimes called, is a powerful public health tool. By ensuring that those who can be immunized do get immunized, we can achieve herd immunity and prevent the illness and suffering that comes from the spread of infectious diseases.
Why is herd immunity important?
Human communities were once relatively small and isolated. Diseases certainly broke out, but their transmission ended wherever geography limited a populace’s mobility. But today, our mobility traverses the entire globe — reaching across oceans and over the mountain ranges, pervading big cities and remote villages alike — linking us all into a single, vast, interactive human herd. Almost no one anymore lives in isolation from such connections.
These chains of human interaction have given birth to more potent chains of disease transmission. The only thing that can break its chain of transmission is a disease-resistant link.
The chickenpox vaccine offers a relatable example of the effectiveness of disease-resistant links. After the chickenpox vaccine debuted in 1995, death rates from chickenpox dropped by as much as 97%. Significantly, even though the vaccine is not administered to infants, none died from chickenpox between 2004 and 2007. These tiniest, most vulnerable links in the chain of human connections avoided exposure thanks to herd immunity.
What do thresholds have to do with herd immunity?
Various disease-causing microorganisms have different infectious features. Some like measles and influenza, pass from person to person more easily than others. Some tend to have more severe consequences in specific demographic groups. For example, the symptoms of pertussis (whooping cough) are distressing at any age but can be fatal in infants – the age group with the highest death rate from pertussis. Each of these features such as transmissibility and severity affects a disease’s threshold or the minimum percentage of immune individuals a community needs to prevent its outbreak.
To set this threshold, epidemiologists – experts in infectious disease transmission, use a value called “basic reproduction number,” often referred to as “Ro.” The higher this number is, the higher the immunity threshold must be to protect the community.
As infections like influenza and measles are extremely contagious and can spread through the air, their immunity threshold needed to achieve herd immunity is high, between 85-95%. Diseases like polio, being a little less contagious, have a lower threshold of 80% to 85%.
How can we break the chain of an infectious disease?
Ways an individual can become immune to an infectious disease:
- by becoming infected with the pathogen that causes it and consequently developing antibodies in the blood to guard off re-infection.
- by being vaccinated against it.
Measles, mumps, polio, and chickenpox are examples of infectious diseases that were once very common but are now rare because vaccines helped to establish herd immunity against them.
Since vaccines induce immunity without causing illness, they are a comparatively safe and effective way to fill a community with disease-resistant people. These vaccinated individuals not only have protected themselves from the disease but, in turn, are also protecting members of the community who cannot be vaccinated, thus preventing the chain of disease from reaching them and limiting potential outbreaks. Every vaccinated person adds to the effectiveness of this community-level protection.
Vaccinations are essentially Homoeopathic in principle and follow the same Nature’s fundamental Law of “Like cures like”.
We sometimes do see outbreaks of vaccine-preventable diseases but generally in communities with lower vaccine coverage because they don’t have herd protection.
The virus causing COVID-19 is a novel (new) strain in the Corona family
Starting as an epidemic in China, the Wuhan Coronavirus reached the level of A Global Health Emergency and eventually got declared as a Pandemic by WHO once it crossed borders to infect a larger number of people in other countries.
The virus causing COVID-19 is a novel (new) strain in the Corona family, hence nobody is immune to it. There is no vaccine available for it. The process of developing/animal trials/ascertaining the effectiveness/human trials/manufacturing/distribution of a vaccine can take a minimum of about 6 months to a year.
Homoeopathy for “Herd Immunity”
First identified by Hippocrates (460-350 BC) and later developed by Dr. Samuel Hahnemann, homoeopathy is a system of curing diseases by medicines that are capable of producing symptoms similar to those of the said disease when given to healthy human beings.
What it causes, it can cure too!
Genus epidemicus is a designed treatment protocol of an epidemic disease based on the collected signs and symptoms of a large group of patients in the same geographical area. The most suitable remedy selected by applying the symptoms so collected and used in the prevention and/or treatment of disease in that epidemic, is a unique Homoeopathic approach.
Homeoepathy has been a boon to the patients of plague, scarlet fever, typhus, yellow fever, pneumonia, cholera, Spanish influenza, hepatitis, dengue, swine flu, chikungunya, encephalitis, leptospirosis and conjunctivitis during the times of past pandemics and epidemics.
Ayush prescribes the use of homoeopathic medicine Arsenic Album 30 as a preventive for COVID-19. By taking this homoeopathic remedy in potentized doses, we are trying to create an immunity build up against the deadly infection, which is becoming a potential threat to the human species and has already caused a worldwide death toll of 227,847 and the number of infected cases has swelled to 3.2 million.
In addition, homoeopathic physicians across the world are also using Influenzium, Camphor, Gelsemium, Bryonia, Cinchona Officinalis (made from quinine), Phosphorous, Eupatorium Perfoliatum and a couple of more remedies as the first line of treatment in people with any flu symptoms. These medicines can be started right away in quarantine and during the pre-symptomatic or the milder phase of the illness even before a COVID-19 test comes positive, without any delay as they are prescribed on the individual symptoms given by the patient.
According to the new guidelines by the health ministry, those with mild symptoms of COVID-19 can be contained in home-isolation provided they fulfill the prerequisite – availability of a 24×7 caregiver and a communication link between the caregiver and the designated COVID hospital. In addition, the caregiver and all close contacts are required to take hydroxychloroquine prophylaxis as per the protocol.
Experts believe that this COVID-19 infection is not going to leave us soon. We somehow will have to learn to live with it for some time. Thus the best way to steer clear of COVID-19 is by conscientiously following all the precautions of lockdown laid by the government, social distancing, and better hygiene, aiming at the same time to developing the most required “Herd immunity”.
Note :: Consult your doctor to know what is best for you in case you develop any symptoms or come in contact with any COVID-19 patient.
- The Medical Investigator, volume 10, 1873
- Tracts on Homoeopathy, 1853
- Homeopathy in Influenza– A chorus of fifty in harmony, W.A. Dewey, Journal of the American Institute of Homeopathy, May 1921, pp. 104
- Application of 200C potency of bacteria for Leptospirosis epidemic control (2010)
- The Logic of Figures, Dr. T. Bradford, 1900
- lives-saved-by-homeopathy, Dr. Iman Navab, President of The Applied Research in Homeopathy Foundation of Canada
- The Government of India report of the treatment trial of 6000 quarantined persons using homeopathic and Ayurvedic medicine for the Covid-19 in Gujarat, April 20, 2020: Ayush system helps quarantined individuals dodge …www.thehindubusinessline.com › news › national › article31386159