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The acceptability of testing contacts of confirmed COVID-19 cases using serial, self-administered lateral flow devices as an alternative to self-isolation

Love, Nicola K; Ready, Derren R; Turner, Charlie; Yardley, Lucy; Rubin, G James; Hopkins, Susan; Oliver, Isabel; (2022) The acceptability of testing contacts of confirmed COVID-19 cases using serial, self-administered lateral flow devices as an alternative to self-isolation. Journal of Medical Microbiology , 71 (8) , Article 001567. 10.1099/jmm.0.001567. Green open access

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Abstract

INTRODUCTION: Evidence suggests that although people modify their behaviours, full adherence to self-isolation guidance in England may be suboptimal, which may have a detrimental impact on COVID-19 transmission rates. HYPOTHESIS: Testing asymptomatic contacts of confirmed COVID-19 cases for the presence of SARS-CoV-2 could reduce onward transmission by improving case ascertainment and lessen the impact of self-isolation on un-infected individuals. AIM: This study investigated the feasibility and acceptability of implementing a ‘test to enable approach’ as part of England’s tracing strategy. METHODOLOGY: Contacts of confirmed COVID-19 cases were offered serial testing as an alternative to self-isolation using daily self-performed lateral flow device (LFD) tests for the first 7 days post-exposure. Asymptomatic participants with a negative LFD result were given 24 h of freedom from self-isolation between each test. A self-collected confirmatory PCR test was performed on testing positive or at the end of the LFD testing period. RESULTS: Of 1760 contacts, 882 consented to daily testing, of whom 812 individuals were within 48 h of exposure and were sent LFD testing packs. Of those who declined to participate, 39.1% stated they had already accessed PCR testing. Of the 812 who were sent LFD packs, 570 (70.2%) reported one or more LFD results; 102 (17.9%) tested positive. Concordance between reported LFD result and a supplied LFD image was 97.1%. In total, 82.8% of PCR-positive samples and 99.6% of PCR-negative samples were correctly detected by LFD. The proportion of secondary cases from contacts of those who participated in the study and tested positive (6.3%; 95% CI: 3.4–11.1%) was comparable to a comparator group who self-isolated (7.6%; 95% CI: 7.3–7.8%). CONCLUSION: This study shows a high acceptability, compliance and positivity rates when using self-administered LFDs among contacts of confirmed COVID-19 cases. Offering routine testing as a structured part of the contact tracing process is likely to be an effective method of case ascertainment.

Type: Article
Title: The acceptability of testing contacts of confirmed COVID-19 cases using serial, self-administered lateral flow devices as an alternative to self-isolation
Location: England
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1099/jmm.0.001567
Publisher version: https://doi.org/10.1099/jmm.0.001567
Language: English
Additional information: © 2022 The Authors. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/deed.ast).
Keywords: COVID-19, DCT, SARS-CoV-2, contacts, lateral flow testing, testing, COVID-19, Contact Tracing, England, Humans, SARS-CoV-2
UCL classification: UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Medical Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Medical Sciences > Div of Infection and Immunity
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences
UCL
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10155047
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