Modelling the impact of repeat asymptomatic testing policies for staff on SARS-CoV-2 transmission potential

Carl A. Whitfield, University of Manchester COVID-19 Modelling Group, Ian Hall

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Repeat asymptomatic testing in order to identify and quarantine infectious individuals has become a widely-used intervention to control SARS-CoV-2 transmission. In some workplaces, and in particular health and social care settings with vulnerable patients, regular asymptomatic testing has been deployed to staff to reduce the likelihood of workplace outbreaks. We have developed a model based on data available in the literature to predict the potential impact of repeat asymptomatic testing on SARS-CoV-2 transmission. The results highlight features that are important to consider when modelling testing interventions, including population heterogeneity of infectiousness and correlation with test-positive probability, as well as adherence behaviours in response to policy. Furthermore, the model based on the reduction in transmission potential presented here can be used to parameterise existing epidemiological models without them having to explicitly simulate the testing process. Overall, we find that even with different model paramterisations, in theory, regular asymptomatic testing is likely to be a highly effective measure to reduce transmission in workplaces, subject to adherence. This manuscript was submitted as part of a theme issue on ”Modelling COVID-19 and Preparedness for Future Pandemics”.
Original languageEnglish
Article number111335
JournalJournal of Theoretical Biology
Early online date2 Nov 2022
Publication statusPublished - 21 Jan 2023


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