By Gwyn Wright via SWNS
Testing people for COVID-19 on the door before major events reduces the risk of revelers passing on the virus by almost 50 percent, according to a new study.
Researchers say guests should ideally be tested on the day to protect others best.
Doing so wipes out any transmission at small events and slashes the risk at larger venues by 40 percent.
Rules that require people to show a negative test 72 hours before entering a venue or boarding a flight hardly help slow the spread, the world-first study claims. This is because the deadly bug grows quickly in the human body.
A rapid test taken in the earliest stages of infection can fail to detect the disease while they are already contagious but just hours later someone’s viral load will have grown so much that they test positive.
For the study, the team used mathematical models to understand how testing at different time intervals affects transmission.
It is the first to analyze statistics to try and gauge how effective different testing is at different times before an event kicks off.
Without testing, the likelihood that someone will pass on the novel disease to someone else after an event has begun is around 40 percent.
Making people show proof of a negative test taken no more than 72 hours before arriving at the door only cuts the risk by 4 percent, compared with no testing.
If testing people straight away this is not really doing a nose and throat swab at least 12 hours before can still cut the risk by a quarter.
When tests are done at least a day before the transmission risk is cut by less than 20 percent.
The Yale School of Public Health researchers in the United States say lateral flow tests are often more effective than “gold-standard” PCR tests at cutting spread because results are available within 20 minutes, even if they are less accurate on paper.
Lateral flow tests were more effective if done on the door than other types of tests that take more than 12 hours to produce a result.
Study senior author Professor Jeffrey Townsend said: “Typically, the disease has a very short period where it is really highly transmissible.
“Go back just a little bit of time and there’s often hardly any virus in you, compared to just a little later, when your viral load could be surging."
Professor Townsend added: “We’re not the first people to say that you should test closer to an event, but this study really nails it down: it matters an enormous amount—and here’s the curve that shows it.”
The findings were published in the International Journal of Public Health.
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