New modelling shows NHS Test and Trace drove reductions in COVID-19 transmission

13 Sep 2021 02:48 PM

New modelling published today by NHS Test and Trace

NHS Test and Trace had a significant impact on driving down levels of COVID-19 transmission between June 2020 to April 2021, new modelling published today shows.

From June 2020 to April 2021, testing, contact tracing and self-isolation directly prevented somewhere between 1.2 million and 2 million COVID-19 infections.

Since its inception, NHS Test and Trace has played an important role in countering this virus – along with the phenomenal vaccination programme – contacting over 14.9 million people from across the country and breaking chains of transmission to stop outbreaks.

From a standing start NHS Test and Trace has built a huge testing capacity, with over 262 million tests now completed. This includes the free PCR test offer for people with symptoms and people who are double jabbed and are identified as close contacts, in addition to regular rapid testing for people without symptoms.

With around one in three people with COVID-19 showing no symptoms, regular testing and contact tracing, alongside the wall of defence built by the vaccination programme, are fundamental to ongoing efforts to keep people safe and help the return to a more normal way of life.

The Canna Model

The ‘Canna’ model published today estimates the impact of test, trace and self-isolation, coordinated by NHS Test and Trace, on COVID-19 transmission from June 2020 to April 2021.

The modelling compares NHS Test and Trace statistics with ONS infection survey data, and estimates the timing and compliance rates of isolation to determine the overall level of transmission reduction from testing, contract tracing and self-isolation. This work is being used to develop new value-for-money analysis that will help guide future decision making.

Key findings

The Canna model found that NHS Test and Trace had a critical impact on identifying cases of COVID-19 and reducing onward transmission. Its key findings were:

For more information on the Canna model and how it works, please click here.

The Canna model considers the historical impact of test and trace on transmission given reasonable assumptions. Establishing the full social and economic value of test and trace requires an economic assessment of this impact.

We are currently undertaking an economic assessment to understand and, where possible, quantify the direct and wider social and economic benefits to preventing COVID-19 infections.