A team at Oxford University are sharing an epidemiological model to help configure a contact tracing app for coronavirus. The model offers several safe configurations to introduce an app and a framework to optimise the app after it is released. The simulations confirm that if around half the total population use the app, alongside other interventions, it has the potential to stop the epidemic and help to keep countries out of lockdown. These research efforts are supporting several European projects including the UK’s national programme led by NHSX, a joint unit comprised of teams from NHS England and the Department of Health & Social Care.
After analysis of the transmission dynamics of the early coronavirus epidemic in China, the Oxford team demonstrated that almost half of all transmissions occurred before anyone showed symptoms. They also estimated that delaying contact tracing by even a day from the onset of symptoms could make the difference between epidemic control and coronavirus resurgence. To respond to this, the team rapidly conceptualised a simple mobile contact tracing app to help control the spread of coronavirus, save lives and ease the population out of lockdown.