- A new study said that repeated mass and rapid tests for COVID-19 could have a major impact on the epidemic within six weeks.
- “Our big conclusion is that when it comes to public health, it is better to do a less sensitive test with results today than a more sensitive test with results tomorrow,” said Daniel Larrymore, professor and leader of computer science at the University of Colorado Boulder. Study author.
- Testing 75% of the city’s population every three days will reduce infection by 88%, “which is enough to push the epidemic towards extinction within six weeks.”
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A new study by researchers at Harvard TH Chan School of Public Health and the University of Colorado revealed that a rapid comprehensive test for COVID-19 – especially for those people who have not shown signs of infection – can put an end to the epidemic within six weeks. Boulder.
The study, published November 20 in the peer-reviewed journal Science Advances, suggests that rapid tests, although less reliable, could allow public health authorities to rely on more targeted interventions, rather than economy-wide lockdowns, if they are published. Widely.
Rapid tests are affordable and can return results in minutes, rather than the days associated with a variety of labs. If half of the U.S. population were tested weekly, the researchers said, with those who tested positive isolated from the rest, the effect would be massive.
“The big picture we came up with is that when it comes to public health, it’s better to have a less sensitive test with results today than a more sensitive test with results tomorrow,” Daniel Larrymore, professor of computer science at CU Boulder and lead author of the study, Friday. “Instead of telling everyone to stay home so you can be certain that one person who is sick isn’t spreading it, we can only give infected people stay-home orders so everyone else can live their lives.”
According to the study, based on mathematical modeling, rapid testing of three-quarters of the city’s population every three days reduced the number of ultimately infected people by 88%, “enough to push the epidemic toward extinction within six weeks.”
“These rapid tests are infectious tests,” Michael Mina, professor of epidemiology at Harvard University and co-author of the study, said in a press release. “It is very effective in detecting COVID-19 when people are contagious.”
Politico reported Friday that increasing the availability of “cheap, rapid tests” is one of the main strategies President-elect Joe Biden is considering.
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