- A new Stanford University study has found that fewer than 10% of adults in the US had coronavirus antibodies in July.
- Published by The Lancet on Friday, it studied more than 28,000 dialysis patients to determine how many had formed antibodies against SARS-CoV-2, which causes COVID-19.
- "This research clearly confirms that despite high rates of COVID-19 in the United States, the number of people with antibodies is still low and we haven't come close to achieving herd immunity," said Julie Parsonnet, co-author of the study and professor of medicine at Stanford University.
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Fewer than 10% of adult Americans had coronavirus antibodies in July, a new study published by The Lancet has found.
The medical journal published the Stanford University study of 28,503 dialysis patients living in 46 states on Friday. However, only 10% of those found to have antibodies had previously tested positive for the coronavirus.
Researchers collected blood plasma from patients alongside Ascend Clinical Laboratories to determine how many had formed antibodies against SARS-CoV-2, which causes COVID-19.
"Public health efforts to limit SARS-CoV-2 spread need to especially target racial and ethnic minority and densely populated communities," it noted.
The study chose patients undergoing dialysis for kidney failure as they regularly attend medical appointments, have their blood drawn, and have access to Medicare.
Those identified with the antibodies varied by location and race, and residents of low-income neighborhoods were twice as likely to have had the coronavirus than higher-income ones.
Black and Hispanic patients were also two to three times more likely to have had the coronavirus, the study found.
The study noted that the possibility of herd immunity remains "out of reach," adding that this was the same conclusion as significant studies in the UK and Spain, which both had large outbreaks this year.
"This research clearly confirms that despite high rates of COVID-19 in the United States, the number of people with antibodies is still low and we haven't come close to achieving herd immunity," said Dr. Julie Parsonnet, co-author of the study and professor of medicine at Stanford University.
Herd immunity, where enough people in a population have come into contact with the virus that they become immune and it no longer continues to spread, has recently been criticized by health officials.
Vaccinologist Florian Krammer told Business Insider: "The only way to achieve herd immunity is through vaccination. Everything else is ethically questionable.
"Would you take a vaccine that kills 1% of people who get vaccinated and protects the remaining ones — but of the remaining ones, 90% get sick? That's what infection does."
It echoes recent comments from experts who said that, despite not implementing a full lockdown, Sweden's recent drop in coronavirus deaths was not down to herd immunity as was widely believed.
"They basically reached this plateau now, whereas others reached it a few months ago," Christian Althaus, an epidemiologist at the University of Bern in Switzerland, told Business Insider. "Because they're lifting measures now, case numbers will probably go up."
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