Assessing population-sampling strategies for reducing the COVID-19 incidence

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As long as critical levels of vaccination have not been reached to ensure heard immunity, and new SARS-CoV-2 strains are developing, the only realistic way to reduce the infection speed in a population is to track the infected individuals before they pass on the virus. Testing the population via sampling has shown good results in slowing the epidemic spread. Sampling can be implemented at different times during the epidemic and may be done either per individual or for combined groups of people at a time. The work we present here makes two main contributions. We first extend and refine our scalable agent-based COVID-19 simulator to incorporate an improved socio-demographic model which considers professions, as well as a more realistic population mixing model based on contact matrices per country. These extensions are necessary to develop and test various sampling strategies in a scenario including the 62 largest cities in Spain; this is our second contribution. As part of the evaluation, we also analyze the impact of different parameters, such as testing frequency, quarantine time, percentage of quarantine breakers, or group testing, on sampling efficacy. Our results show that the most effective strategies are pooling, rapid antigen test campaigns, and requiring negative testing for access to public areas. The effectiveness of all these strategies can be greatly increased by reducing the number of contacts for infected individual.
Agent-based simulation, Contact matrices, Sampling strategies, Sars-cov-2(covid-19), Social model
Bibliographic citation
Guzmán-Merino, M., Durán, C., Marinescu, M.-C., Delgado-Sanz, C., Gomez-Barroso, D., Carretero, J., & Singh, D. E. (2021). Assessing population-sampling strategies for reducing the COVID-19 incidence. In Computers in Biology and Medicine (Vol. 139, p. 104938). Elsevier BV.