Cutting COVID-19 infectious period could prevent millions of cases: Study
(Sourced from PTI)
A vaccine or medication that could shorten the infectious period of COVID-19 in patients, even by one day, may potentially prevent millions of cases and save billions of dollars, according to a new modeling study. In the study, scientists, including those from the CUNY Graduate School of Public Health in the US, assessed the potential value of shortening the infectious period in COVID-19 patients.
The research, published in the journal PLOS Computational Biology, noted that some vaccines and drugs may have subtler effects. Even if they cannot prevent or cure COVID-19, they may still be able to reduce how long an infected person is contagious.
The researchers created a computational model that simulates the spread of SARS-CoV-2 and used it to explore how a vaccine that can reduce the contagious period might alleviate the clinical and economic impact of COVID-19. "Reducing the contagious period by half a day could avert up to 1.4 million cases including 99,000 hospitalizations even if a quarter of people were treated," the study said.
According to the study, cutting the contagious period by 3.5 days could avert up to 7.4 million cases, and expanding such treatment to 75 percent of everyone infected could avert 29.7 million cases and save $856 billion.
The researchers believe the findings could help guide research and investments into development of vaccines or medications that reduce the infectious period of SARS-CoV-2. "There may be a tendency to overlook vaccines and other treatments that don't prevent a COVID-19 infection or cure disease," said study co-author Bruce Lee from the CUNY Graduate School of Public Health.
"This study showed that even relatively small changes in how long people are contagious can significantly affect the transmission and spread of the virus and thus save billions of dollars and avert millions of new cases," Lee said.