Comprehensive case finding, repeat testing, and apps for contact tracing and self-isolation also key
Border controls, restricted entry, and quarantine for inbound travellers are essential for stopping not just COVID-19, but any future pandemic, in its tracks, finds a review of the available published evidence on early infection control in the online journal BMJ Open.
Comprehensive case finding, repeat testing to rule out false results, apps and use of GPS data to enable contact tracing and self isolation, as well as financial support are also key elements in any policies to curb the spread of infection.
While various elements of a find, test, trace, isolate, and support (FTTIS) system have long been core elements of public health, COVID-19 infection has some specific characteristics, such as silent transmission, a strong age gradient in disease severity, plus other features that remain poorly understood, say the researchers.
To inform future pandemic strategy and improve the design and implementation of current systems, the researchers systematically reviewed international studies, published in the English language, which evaluated contact tracing, testing, self-isolation and quarantine on COVID-19 management.
Some 118 studies, covering the periods May 2019 to May 2020, June 2020, and January 2021, were included in the review.
The results showed that the best strategies for a successful FTTIS to rapidly control COVID-19 (and other pandemics) early on include:
“Our findings can inform policy in future pandemics,” conclude the researchers. And they “may inform countries considering implementing these measures.”
Notes for editors
Research: Lessons from countries implementing find, test, trace, isolation and support policies in the rapid response of the COVID-19 pandemic: a systematic review doi 10.1136/bmjopen-2020-047832
Journal: BMJ Open
Funding: None declared
Link to Academy of Medical Sciences labelling system
Externally peer reviewed? Yes
Evidence type: Systematic Review
Subjects: Pandemic Test and Trace infrastructure
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