CC0 Public DomainNov. 20, 2020 (MedicalXpress) -- Testing half the population weekly with inexpensive, rapid-turnaround COVID-19 tests would drive the virus toward elimination within weeks -- even if those tests are significantly less sensitive than gold-standard clinical tests, according to a new study by University of Colorado Boulder and Harvard University researchers.
Such a strategy could lead to "personalized stay-at-home orders" without shutting down restaurants, bars, retail stores and schools, the authors said.
"Our big picture finding is that, when it comes to public health, it's better to have a less sensitive test with results today than a more sensitive one with results tomorrow," said lead author Daniel Larremore, an assistant professor of computer science at CU Boulder.
"Rather than telling everyone to stay home so you can be sure that one person who is sick doesn't spread it, we could give only the contagious people stay-at-home orders so everyone else can go about their lives."