KUWAIT CITY, Dec 8: A number of doctors warned against the application of the policy of “herd immunity” for dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic prior to the availability of the vaccine, as the application of this policy may have serious consequences in terms of the number of infections and high risks, reports Al-Anba daily.
This was highlighted during the virtual symposium held by the Kuwait Science Club on the developments of COVID-19 in Kuwait. The symposium was moderated by the Vice-Chairman of the Board of Directors of the club, researcher at the Dasman Diabetes Institute, and Professor of Genetics at the Health Sciences Center of Kuwait University Dr. Hamad Yassin.
Professor of Mathematical Modeling at Kuwait University Dr. Abdullah Al-Shammari, Consultant of Urology, Nephrology and Robotic Surgery Dr. Ahmed Al-Enezi, Consultant of Pediatrics, Allergy and Clinical Immunology Dr. Maytham Hussein, and Consultant Hematologist and Associate Professor at the Faculty of Medicine in Kuwait University Dr. Faisal Al-Sayegh had participated in the symposium.
Chairman of the club’s Board of Directors Dr. Nasser Al-Mujibel started the symposium by welcoming the guests and giving an overview of the club and its objectives, as it aims to hold a series of scientific seminars during the coming period in various specializations in order to present neutral scientific views on local issues.
The symposium began with a discussion about the epidemiological situation in Kuwait. Professor of mathematics and modeling at the College of Science in Kuwait University Dr. Abdullah Al-Shammari explained that the number of infections that have been recently recorded is limited to the number of swab tests carried out as well as the type of target groups.
He said, “What we read from the declared data is a limited part of the epidemiological situation, and therefore careful handling is necessary”.
Dr. Al-Shammari affirmed that the recorded decrease in the number of infections, if consistent with the index of random swabs, may indicate a marked shift in the behavior of society due to its sense of danger for the high frequency of deaths recorded in the previous period, which resulted in greater commitment.
When asked about the application of herd immunity policy, he said applying herd immunity without the availability of a vaccine will have catastrophic results, in terms of high number of infections and death cases especially for the elderly and those with chronic diseases, as seen in Brazil and Sweden.
Regarding the relationship between reopening schools and spread of community infection, Consultant of Urology, Nephrology and Robot Surgery at the Ministry of Health Dr. Ahmed Al-Enezi stated that there is no scientific consensus on the effect of the process of opening or closing schools on the transmission of infection within the community, as there is contradiction in the results of the studies.
He said the decision to reopen schools must be accompanied by the existence of tight control over spread of infection in the community.
He concluded by saying, “We do not believe that Kuwait is able to make the decision to reopen schools due to the difficulty in analyzing the situation and due to the absence of random survey data”.
Regarding the COVID-19 vaccine, Dr. Maytham Hussein, a consultant on allergy and clinical immunology, explained that the vaccine development programs against COVID-19 are divided into four types, some of which are traditional in developing available vaccines for viruses and bacterias, including those that use new technology aimed at delivering the RNA into the cell to enable the human cells to produce protein that causes the symptoms of the disease, and thus create an immune response and immune memory without developing symptoms of the disease.
Regarding the so-called conspiracy theory. Consultant hematologist and associate professor at Kuwait University Dr. Faisal Al-Sayegh said, “Conspiracy theories have an ancient history of appearing with every crisis, irrespective of whether it is an economic, security or health crisis. It is unfair to apply the term “theory” to these myths, as it is not based on any science or scientific evidence”.