Expert elicitation on the relative importance of possible SARS-CoV-2 transmission routes and the effectiveness of mitigations

Alexandra L.J. Freeman, Simon Parker, Catherine Noakes, Shaun Fitzgerald, Alexandra Smyth, Ron MacBeth, David Spiegelhalter, Harry Rutter

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Citations (SciVal)

Abstract

Objectives To help people make decisions about the most effective mitigation measures against SARS-CoV-2 transmission in different scenarios, the likelihoods of transmission by different routes need to be quantified to some degree (however uncertain). These likelihoods need to be communicated in an appropriate way to illustrate the relative importance of different routes in different scenarios, the likely effectiveness of different mitigation measures along those routes, and the level of uncertainty in those estimates. In this study, a pragmatic expert elicitation was undertaken to supply the underlying quantitative values to produce such a communication tool. Participants Twenty-seven individual experts from five countries and many scientific disciplines provided estimates. Outcome measures Estimates of transmission parameters, assessments of the quality of the evidence, references to relevant literature, rationales for their estimates and sources of uncertainty. Results and conclusion The participants' responses showed that there is still considerable disagreement among experts about the relative importance of different transmission pathways and the effectiveness of different mitigation measures due to a lack of empirical evidence. Despite these disagreements, when pooled, the majority views on each parameter formed an internally consistent set of estimates (for example, that transmission was more likely indoors than outdoors, and at closer range), which formed the basis of a visualisation to help individuals and organisations understand the factors that influence transmission and the potential benefits of different mitigation measures.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere050869
JournalBMJ Open
Volume11
Issue number12
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2021

Keywords

  • COVID-19
  • infection control
  • public health

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)

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