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COVID-19 May Have Infected Half Of UK Already But This Could Be Good News

According to researchers associated with the University of Oxford, half of the United Kingdom’s 66 million+ citizens may already be infected with the novel coronavirus, COVID-19.


This research is in parallel with that from the Imperial College London. It suggests that the virus is more in its late stages than in its early stages.


Oxford’s Evolutionary Ecology of Infectious Disease group reached the conclusion that COVID-19 had entered the UK as early as 15th January. Thus, before its detection in February, it had likely reached millions of people. The researchers suggest that like all viral infections, it had spread invisibly among people.


Sunetra Gupta, a professor of theoretical epidemiology who had led the study says that they need more data to be certain. However, other experts are speculating that this may be good news.


For one thing, it means that only as few as one person in about a thousand individuals will actually be ill enough to need medical attention. Also, it would mean that most of the country had already acquired substantial herd immunity. This was likely why Covid-19 spread over more than two months without being recognised.

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According to a Wikipedia definition:


“Herd immunity is a form of indirect protection from infectious disease that occurs when a large percentage of a population has become immune to an infection.”


This usually happens when many people have already been infected or through vaccination.


Financial Times reported the news and quoted Professor Gupta expressing disappointment at the Government for making policies based on Imperial College’s earlier assessment. However, she also thinks social distancing is the best strategy to reduce how many critically ill people may arise.


Thus, she may not be pushing for a premature restarting of activities in the UK.


COVID-19 researchers
If Oxford researchers are right, the UK may end COVID-19 lockdown.


The Oxford group is working with researchers from the Universities of Cambridge and Kent to start antibody testing on people. Gupta says they will be using specialised neutralisation assays. These, she claims, provide a reliable readout of protective immunity.


If the researchers are able to prove their point, the British government may lift the lockdown policy soon.


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Onwuasoanya Obinna

A reader of books and stringer of words. Passionate about Science and Tech. When not writing or reading he is surfing the web and Tweeting.

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