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I heard it through the grapevine: On herd immunity and why it is important

Napier, AD; (2020) I heard it through the grapevine: On herd immunity and why it is important. Anthropology Today , 36 (3) pp. 3-7. 10.1111/1467-8322.12572. Green open access

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Abstract

A. David Napier has been studying immunology and immunologists for more than three decades. In this article, he argues that the medicalization of viral epidemics has distracted us from the importance of their true social drivers: that is, the behaviour of people when they are together – what epidemiologists call human herds. On their own, viruses cannot ‘invade’ us. Our cells bring them to life and make them infectious through our social actions. Confusing viruses with invasive microbes not only leads us to misuse antibiotics, but fosters xenophobic responses towards outside carriers – as even our neighbours become categorical ‘others’ in the face of a foreign threat. Indeed, new work in viral epidemiology indicates that many viruses have infectious potential long before an epidemic develops. It is not only changes within viruses that cause epidemics, but also the condition of human herds – how we behave socially – that ignites the rapid circulation of viral information.

Type: Article
Title: I heard it through the grapevine: On herd immunity and why it is important
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1111/1467-8322.12572
Publisher version: https://doi.org/10.1111/1467-8322.12572
Language: English
Additional information: Copyright © 2020 The Authors. Anthropology Today published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd on behalf of Royal Anthropological Institute. This is an open access article under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution‐NonCommercial‐NoDerivs License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0/), which permits use and distribution in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited, the use is non‐commercial and no modifications or adaptations are made.
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of S&HS
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of S&HS > Dept of Anthropology
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10102156
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