Modeling the transmission mitigation impact of testing for infectious diseases. Journal Article uri icon



  • A fundamental question of any program focused on the testing and timely diagnosis of a communicable disease is its effectiveness in reducing transmission. Here, we introduce testing effectiveness (TE)-the fraction by which testing and post-diagnosis isolation reduce transmission at the population scale-and a model that incorporates test specifications and usage, within-host pathogen dynamics, and human behaviors to estimate TE. Using TE to guide recommendations, we show that today's rapid diagnostics should be used immediately upon symptom onset to control influenza A and respiratory syncytial virus but delayed by up to two days to control omicron-era severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2). Furthermore, while rapid tests are superior to reverse transcription quantitative polymerase chain reaction (RT-qPCR) to control founder-strain SARS-CoV-2, omicron-era changes in viral kinetics and rapid test sensitivity cause a reversal, with higher TE for RT-qPCR despite longer turnaround times. Last, we illustrate the model's flexibility by quantifying trade-offs in the use of post-diagnosis testing to shorten isolation times.

publication date

  • June 14, 2024

has subject area

has restriction

  • gold

Date in CU Experts

  • June 14, 2024 8:37 AM

Full Author List

  • Middleton C; Larremore DB

author count

  • 2

Other Profiles

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 2375-2548

Additional Document Info

start page

  • eadk5108


  • 10


  • 24