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Impact of national-scale targeted point-of-care symptomatic lateral fow testing on trends in COVID-19 infections, hospitalisations and deaths during the second epidemic wave in Austria (REAP3)
6 months ago
Impact of national-scale targeted point-of-care symptomatic lateral fow testing on trends in COVID-19 infections, hospitalisations and deaths during the second epidemic wave in Austria (REAP3)

A new article by Institute for Advanced Studies and London School of Economics and Political Science has been published in BMC Public Health

Abstract

 

Background In October 2020, amidst the second COVID-19 epidemic wave and before the second-national lock‑ down, Austria introduced a policy of population-wide point-of-care lateral fow antigen testing (POC-LFT). This study explores the impact of this policy by quantifying the association between trends in POC-LFT-activity with trends in PCR-positivity (as a proxy for symptomatic infection), hospitalisations and deaths related to COVID-19 between Octo‑ ber 22 and December 06, 2020.

Methods We stratifed 94 Austrian districts according to POC-LFT-activity (number of POC-LFTs performed per 100,000 inhabitants over the study period), into three population cohorts: (i) high(N=24), (ii) medium(N=45) and (iii) low(N=25). Across the cohorts we a) compared trends in POC-LFT-activity with PCR-positivity, hospital admissions and deaths related to COVD-19; b) compared the epidemic growth rate before and after the epidemic peak; and c) calculated the Pearson correlation coefcients between PCR-positivity with COVID-19 hospitalisations and with COVID -19 related deaths.

Results The trend in POC-LFT activity was similar to PCR-positivity and hospitalisations trends across high, medium and low POC-LFT activity cohorts, with association with deaths only present in cohorts with high POC-LFT activity. Compared to the low POC-LFT-activity cohort, the high-activity cohort had steeper pre-peak daily increase in PCRpositivity (2.24 more cases per day, per district and per 100,000 inhabitants; 95% CI: 2.0–2.7; p<0.001) and hospitalisa‑ tions (0.10; 95% CI: 0.02, 0.18; p=0.014), and 6 days earlier peak of PCR-positivity. The high-activity cohort also had steeper daily reduction in the post-peak trend in PCR-positivity (-3.6; 95% CI: -4.8, -2.3; p<0.001) and hospitalisations (-0.2; 95% CI: -0.32, -0.08; p=0.001). PCR-positivity was positively correlated to both hospitalisations and deaths, but with lags of 6 and 14 days respectively.

 

Find the full article here!