Impact and cost-effectiveness of SARS-CoV-2 self-testing strategies in schools: A multicountry modelling analysis

Joshua M. Chevalier, Alvin X. Han, Megan A. Hansen, Ethan Klock, Hiromi Pandithakoralage, Tom Ockhuisen, Sarah J. Girdwood, Nkgomeleng A. Lekodeba, Alexandra de Nooy, Shaukat Khan, Cheryl C. Johnson, Jilian A. Sacks, Helen E. Jenkins, Colin A. Russell, Brooke E. Nichols

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Objectives To determine the most epidemiologically effective and cost-effective school-based SARS-CoV-2 antigen-detection rapid diagnostic test (Ag-RDT) self-testing strategies among teachers and students. Design Mathematical modelling and economic evaluation. Setting and participants Simulated school and community populations were parameterised to Brazil, Georgia and Zambia, with SARS-CoV-2 self-testing strategies targeted to teachers and students in primary and secondary schools under varying epidemic conditions. Interventions SARS-CoV-2 Ag-RDT self-testing strategies for only teachers or teachers and students - only symptomatically or symptomatically and asymptomatically at 5%, 10%, 40% or 100% of schools at varying frequencies. Outcome measures Outcomes were assessed in terms of total infections and symptomatic days among teachers and students, as well as total infections and deaths within the community under the intervention compared with baseline. The incremental cost-effectiveness ratios (ICERs) were calculated for infections prevented among teachers and students. Results With respect to both the reduction in infections and total cost, symptomatic testing of all teachers and students appears to be the most cost-effective strategy. Symptomatic testing can prevent up to 69·3%, 64·5% and 75·5% of school infections in Brazil, Georgia and Zambia, respectively, depending on the epidemic conditions, with additional reductions in community infections. ICERs for symptomatic testing range from US$2 to US$19 per additional school infection averted as compared with symptomatic testing of teachers alone. Conclusions Symptomatic testing of teachers and students has the potential to cost-effectively reduce a substantial number of school and community infections.
Original languageEnglish
JournalBMJ Open
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 27 Feb 2024


  • COVID-19
  • Health economics
  • Health policy

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