The RSS Covid-19 Task Force has welcomed a new Public Health England and NHS Test and Trace study to increase understanding of how daily testing for those who are contacts of Covid cases could be used as an alternative to self-isolation.
Close contacts of Covid cases who consent to take part in the new STOP study, will be randomly assigned to two modes. The first is keeping to the current policy, where a PCR test is assigned for immediate home use while the person self-isolates for ten days. The second is where both LFT and PCR tests are taken on the first day and then for the following six days a negative LFT allows them to carry on as normal.
The RSS called for Covid ‘Lessons learned’ memo in its designed studies using randomisation, to evaluate the effectiveness of government testing policies. Evaluation of complex interventions calls for randomisation (to control bias) and adequate study size (to give precise answers). The RECOVERY trial, which identified a drug for treating severe Covid patients, is an example of how effective fast-paced and adaptive evaluation can be.
'We welcome the launch of a major trial by Public Health England - STOP - to evaluate an alternative approach to self-isolation,' said RSS President Professor Sylvia Richardson, who co-chairs the RSS Covid-19 Task Force. 'It is right to put randomised evaluation of effectiveness at the heart of the government's response to Covid-19 – it enables us to improve our response by having solid evidence on the relative merits of different approaches.'
Read the task force’s statement in full.