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Does mass testing work? New evidence from mass testing in Slovakia

In October 2020, Slovakia tested its whole population for SARS-CoV-2 infections, conducting more than five million rapid antigen tests. A pilot trial took place between 23rd and 25th October in the country’s four most affected counties, followed by a round of national mass testing on 31st October and 1st November. High prevalence counties were again targeted with a subsequent round on 7th and 8th November.

Several of the authors of the study are based in the UK. Given how topical the issue of mass testing has become and disappointing news from the UK’s mass testing pilot in Liverpool, we invited them to a short briefing at the SMC to present the evidence and answer any questions on what this evidence means for the aspiration to do mass testing in the UK.

The analysis, which has not yet been peer-reviewed, was conducted in collaboration with the Slovak Ministry of Health. Using data on the proportions of those attending the mass testing that tested positive, the team estimated the combined impact of this mass testing with contact restrictions on SARS-CoV-2 infection prevalence.

 

Speakers included:

Dr Sebastian Funk, Associate Professor and Wellcome Trust Senior Research Fellow, London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine

Dr Stefan Flasche, Associate Professor, London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine

 

This Briefing was accompanied by an SMC Roundup of Comments.

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