New mathematical modeling study finds surveillance testing on college campuses with 100% vaccinated population may still play an important role in mitigating the spread of COVID-19 “under all but the most optimistic conditions.” for the efficacy of the vaccine.
The study published in JAMA Health Forum found that in simulations with a vaccine efficacy of 90 percent, weekly surveillance tests were only linked to a marginal reduction in virus transmission at a campus of 5,000 students with a vaccination rate of 100 percent. hundred. But at 50 or 75 percent effectiveness of the vaccine, researchers estimated that surveillance tests reduced infections by up to 93.6 percent.
The study, which was completed before the widespread emergence of the Delta variant, cited research showing that the Moderna and Pfizer vaccines were about 90% effective in blocking infection and transmission, while the effectiveness of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine was estimated to be around 67%.
“This simulated modeling study of the dynamics of infections at a college campus in which 100 percent of students were vaccinated suggested that surveillance testing had an important role in limiting infections in all but the most optimistic conditions,” which may be unrealistic in the face of potential risks. decreased vaccine effectiveness due to variants or waning immunity, ”the authors wrote in their conclusion.
Francis C. Motta, assistant professor of mathematical sciences at Florida Atlantic University, was the study’s lead author. The other study authors are variously affiliated with Duke University, the University of North Carolina at Charlotte, and the National Institutes of Health.
Motta said data from Duke’s COVID-19 testing program was used to inform the modeling.
While some colleges (including Duke) continue to perform routine testing on vaccinated and unvaccinated students, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention does not recommend that colleges routinely test vaccinated students.
CDC guidelines for higher education institutions say “fully vaccinated people with no COVID-19-like symptoms and no known exposure should be exempted from routine testing programs.”
The CDC did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Monday afternoon.