• New COVID-19 Rapid Review: Universal Screening for SARS-CoV-2 Infection

    Researchers at Cochrane conducted a rapid review to assess (1) the effectiveness of universal screening for SARS‐CoV‐2 infection compared with no screening and (2) the accuracy of universal screening in people who have not presented to clinical care for symptoms of COVID‐19. After a systematic search of available literature, the researchers identified 22 publications: two modeling studies that reported on the effectiveness of universal screening and twenty studies (17 cohort studies and 3 modeling studies) which reported on screening test accuracy.

    Overall, the authors conclude that the evidence suggests that one‐time screening approaches with a symptom assessment, direct temperature measurement, travel history, assessment for exposure to known or suspected infected people, or combined symptoms assessment with temperature measurement may miss between 40% and 100% of people who are infected, although the certainty of the conclusions ranges from very low to moderate. The limited accuracy of RT‐PCR is also a constraint in confirming the results of various screening approaches.

    Given the poor sensitivity of existing approaches, the author’s findings point to the need for greater emphasis on other ways that may prevent transmissions such as face coverings, physical distancing, quarantine, and adequate personal protective equipment for frontline workers.

    Read the full Cochrane rapid review.