Cookies on this website
We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. If you click 'Continue' we'll assume that you are happy to receive all cookies and you won't see this message again. Click 'Find out more' for information on how to change your cookie settings.

The increasingly evident role of asymptomatic and pre-symptomatic transmission means testing is central to COVID-19 control, but test sensitivity estimates are low (around 65%). We extend an existing branching process contact tracing model, adding diagnostic testing and refining parameter estimates. Poor test sensitivity potentially reduces the efficacy of contact tracing, due to false-negative results impacting quarantine. We show that, counter-intuitively, faster testing could also reduce operational test sensitivity, exacerbating this effect. If sensitivity-based risks are mitigated, we find that contact tracing can facilitate control, but small changes in the population reproduction number (1·3 to 1·5) could impact contact tracing feasibility.

Original publication




Working paper

Publication Date



CMMID COVID-19 working group