The NHS contact-tracing app has now been peer-reviewed by academics and it’s been highlighted that the technology made a significant impact on lowering the spread of COVID-19.
Published online on 12 May 2021 in Nature, the academics calculated that the app helped avert 248,000 infections and potentially saved over 8,700 lives.
The researchers investigated the app from its launch on 24 September 2020 through to the end of December 2020, when it was utilised by 16.5 million users, with 1.7 million exposure notifications sent during this time.
The data showed, using an estimate, that the number of app-notified individuals subsequently showing symptoms and testing positive was approximately 6%.
It was, therefore, estimated based on the modelling performed by the researchers that “roughly one case was prevented, for each user consenting to notification of their contacts.”
Two approaches were used to analyse the data, a ‘modelling approach’ using estimates from researchers and a ‘statistical’ approach supported with data on cases from local authorities. When the researchers used their modelling approach to analyse the data they found that 248,000 infections were prevented and 594,000 were thought to be prevented using the statistical approach.
The researchers also estimated that “for every percentage point increase in app users, the number of cases can be reduced by 0.8% (modelling) or 2.3% (statistical analysis). These findings provide evidence for continued development and deployment of such apps in populations that are awaiting full protection from vaccines.”
In the published report, the researchers also note the potential behavioural factors influencing the results, such as “users maintaining a greater distance from others than they otherwise would have done, aware that the app monitors distance and could later advise quarantine.”
Summarising, the report stated that “digital tracing is not a substitute for manual tracing: both are valuable” and that the findings “provide evidence for continued development and deployment of such apps in populations that are awaiting full protection from vaccines.”
To read the report, please click here >
The post NHS COVID-19 app peer-reviewed, helps avert 248,000 infections appeared first on htn.