Quantifying SARS-CoV-2 transmission suggests epidemic control with digital contact tracing.

Press/Media: Expert Comment

Description

An expert review for Public Health England (PHE/NHSx) on the existing literature for the use of mobile apps for COVID detection and isolation. 

At the time of writing, this review was expected to be confidential, however it was published after FOI request to the SAGE pnademiic response committee.  The content is sound, but the writing style is abnormally informal. 

https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/890244/s0266-quantifying-sars-cov-2-transmission-300420-sage30.pdf

We found that the published reviews showed that the use of the mobile app. would reduce the spread of coronavirus, with the assumptions made by the researchers and the more realistic/pessimistic assumptions suggested by NHSx.  We estimated a 45% reduction, which would be insufficient to prevent epidemic spread without significant additional measures.  Furthermore, we noted that only 1 in 20 app-forced quarantines would be true positives, and questioned whether this was behaviourally sustainable in an epidemic situation.

The work aged well.  Subsequent studies found that the app. had an effect to reduce R by about 30%, and the "pingdemic" of mid-2021 eventually forced the change in quarantine triggers which we recommended.

 

     

Period30 Apr 2020 → 5 Jun 2020

Media coverage

1

Media coverage

  • TitleTEST AND TRACE Brits may have to quarantine 20 TIMES – that’s 280 days – before even catching Covid, SAGE docs reveal
    Degree of recognitionNational
    Media name/outletThe Sun
    Media typePrint
    Country/TerritoryUnited Kingdom
    Date5/06/20
    Producer/AuthorNews International
    PersonsGraeme Ackland

Media contributions

1

Media contributions

  • TitleQuantifying SARS-CoV-2 transmission suggests epidemic control with digital contact tracing.
    Degree of recognitionNational
    Media name/outletSAGE committee papers
    Country/TerritoryUnited Kingdom
    Date30/04/20
    PersonsGraeme Ackland