As the world waits for a COVID-19 vaccine, initial results of antibody testing in Southern Nevada show that developing herd immunity in the meantime is an unlikely scenario.
e7 Health found that only 3 percent of the patients in Southern Nevada it has tested are positive for antibodies. This was generally in a population that had some concerns about being exposed, so it can be expected that a more random sampling may show an even lower rate of positive antibodies in Southern Nevada.
Antibodies show that the immune system recognizes the SARS-CoV-2 virus. Most experts feel that achieving herd immunity would require at least 50-60 percent of the population to develop the antibodies, explained Dr. Jonathan Baktari, MD, CEO of e7 Health & U.S. Drug Test Centers.
“If 60 percent of the population would get infected and develop antibodies, the virus would not have enough susceptible people to keep going,” he said. “If Patient A has the virus and many of the people he bumps into have immunity, then there’s no host to jump to, so the virus dies with that person.”
Baktari said e7 Health began its antibody testing in May and will offer at-home COVID-19 testing in the next few weeks.
“Las Vegas is middle-of-the-road in terms of COVID-19 severity,” he said. “Patients must be two to four weeks past infection to get the antibodies. Barring something very unforeseen, and based on these test results, there’s slim to no chance to get herd immunity from active infections any time in the foreseeable future, if ever.”
Research recently released by Sweden’s public health agency shows that just 7.3 percent of Stockholm’s population had developed antibodies by the end of April, although Sweden had decided on light COVID-19 restrictions in the hopes of developing broad immunity.
“Sweden decided to remain more open, and their theory was that they would get herd immunity,” Baktari said. “They had a much higher mortality rate than neighboring European countries, and their antibody rate so far is only 7.3 percent after generally exposing the whole population more than others.
“At least so far, it does not appear that opening up stay-at-home guidelines has a significant impact on closing in on herd immunity, making a vaccine the best option to address this pandemic.”
Baktari noted that the antibody testing results are not surprising since they are typical of most respiratory viruses; what is surprising, however, is how deadly COVID-19 is.
“Coronavirus strains are very common,” he said. “What makes it bad is that this strain is so deadly. It’s just more lethal.”
MORE ABOUT e7 HEALTH
e7 Health is a preventative health and wellness company supervised by board-certified doctors with locations in Las Vegas and Chicago.
e7 Health provides seven sectors of preventive medical care in the convenience of a one-stop clinic and has pioneered an array of wellness programs that combine the latest in wellness medicine with advanced software technology.
Its proprietary-owned and -developed suite of software systems allows it to leverage technology to provide cutting-edge medical care while providing efficiencies and cost-savings for its clients.
MORE ABOUT DR. JONATHAN BAKTARI
Jonathan Baktari, MD, brings over 20 years of clinical, administrative and entrepreneurial experience to lead the current e7 Health team as CEO of e7 Health & U.S. Drug Test Centers.
He has been a triple board-certified physician with specialties in internal medicine, pulmonary and critical care medicine. He has been the medical director of the Valley Health Systems, Anthem Blue Cross Blue Shield, Culinary Health Fund and currently is the CEO of two healthcare companies.
He also has served as clinical faculty for several medical schools including the University of Nevada and Touro University.