Quarantining 50% of COVID-19 suspects could reduce number of cases by 62%: ICMR study

By contrast in a "pessimistic" scenario, the projected impact on the cumulative incidence falls to two per cent and the peak prevalence by eight per cent, the paper said.

Published: 23rd March 2020 08:11 PM  |   Last Updated: 23rd March 2020 08:11 PM   |  A+A-

By Express News Service

New Delhi: A mathematical modelling done by the country's top health research body Indian Council for Medical Research has said that quarantining of at least 50 per cent symptomatic cases of COVID 19 within three days of their developing symptoms could reduce the total number of cases in India by 62 per cent in the best-case scenario.

The analysis titled  Prudent public health intervention strategies to control the coronavirus disease 2019 transmission in India: A mathematical model-based approach that has been published in the Indian Journal of Medical Research also said the same intervention could reduce the peak prevalence by 89 per cent.

By contrast in a "pessimistic" scenario, the projected impact on the cumulative incidence falls to two per cent and the peak prevalence by eight per cent, the paper said.

The researchers however said in the paper that the focus of the analysis was not towards predicting the total burden that COVID-19 cases could impose on the healthcare system but to identify rational intervention strategies that might work towards the control of the coronavirus outbreak in India

"We modeled the potential impact of containment strategy of point-of-entry screening and a mitigation response through symptomatic screening on hypothetical COVID-19 transmission scenario in India," said the researchers associated with the National Institute of Epidemiology under the ICMR in the paper.

"Our results suggest that in order to have an appreciable effect on delaying the establishment of transmission of COVID-19 in India, airport arrival screening will need to have near-complete capture of incoming COVID-19 cases, including asymptomatic cases," they added.

A researcher associated with the paper, who did not wish to be quoted, said the total case burden could not be estimated as there was no community transmission in India at the time of analysis, but added that based on the modeling, many interventions had been adopted by the government.

The analysts noted that it may be possible to interrupt the transmission of COVID-19 in India, but only in the most optimistic scenario. 

"Even with high reproductive factor and sub-optimal coverage, symptomatic quarantine can still achieve meaningful reductions in peak prevalence, resulting in the 'spreading out' of the outbreak. This would make it easier to cope with the peak demand on health services. However, such measures would have very little effect on the overall epidemic size," the paper has said.

Meanwhile, a study by the Imperial College in London, published a few days ago, has said that in the best-case scenario "social distancing and school closures would need to be in force some two-thirds of the time - roughly two months on and one month off until a vaccine is available - which will take at least 18 months."

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