Skip to Main Navigation

How Two Tests Can Help Contain COVID-19 and Revive the Economy (English)

Faced with COVID-19 (Coronavirus), countries are taking drastic action based on little information. Two tests can help governments shorten and soften economically costly suppression measures while still containing the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. The first—a PCR assay—identifies people currently infected by testing for the presence of live virus in the subject. The second—an antibody test—identifies those rendered immune after being infected by searching for COVID-19-specific antibodies. The first test can help contain the disease because it facilitates the identification of infected persons, the tracing of their contacts, and isolation in the very early stages of an epidemic—or after a period of suppression, in case of a resurgent epidemic. The second can help us assess the extent of immunity in the general population or subgroups, to finetune social isolation and to manage health care resources. Wide application of the two tests could transform the battle against COVID-19 (Coronavirus), but implementing either on a large scale in developing countries presents challenges. The first test is generally available, but needs to be processed in adequately equipped laboratories with trained staff. The second test is easy to perform and can be processed quickly on the spot, but at this stage it is produced and available only on a limited basis in a few countries. This policy brief reviews the use of both tests, suggests strategies to target their use, and discusses the benefits and costs of such strategies. If PCR assay testing, together with tracing and isolation, helps reduce the duration of suppression measures by two weeks, and antibody testing allows one-fifth of the immune return to work early, the gain could be about 2 percent of national income, or about $8 billion for a country like the Philippines. Because the estimated economic benefits of the tests are likely to far outweigh the cost, the international community must help countries develop the capacity to process the first test and procure the second.

Details

  • Author

    De Walque,Damien B. C. M., Friedman,Jed, Gatti,Roberta V., Mattoo,Aaditya

  • Document Date

    2020/04/08

  • Document Type

    Brief

  • Report Number

    147504

  • Volume No

    1

  • Total Volume(s)

    1

  • Country

    East Asia and Pacific,

  • Region

    East Asia and Pacific,

  • Disclosure Date

    2020/04/08

  • Disclosure Status

    Disclosed

  • Doc Name

    How Two Tests Can Help Contain COVID-19 and Revive the Economy

  • Keywords

    Food and Drug Administration; Human Development Practice; representative sample; polymerase chain reaction; health care resources; working age population; general health system; movement of people; public sector investment; economies of scale; development research group; rapid technological change; number of workers; categories of worker; public school teacher; access to drugs; intellectual property rights; world health organization; advance market commitment; per capita income; public health intervention; number of victims; national income; pharmaceutical intervention; test kit; Health Workers; antibody testing; comprehensive testing; international community; laboratory capacity; protective equipment; mortality data; testing strategy; human capital; social distance; vertical line; random sampling; million people; live virus; regulatory approval; health community; social isolation; transmission control; durable value; laboratory equipment; curative health; market failure; oecd countries; acquired immunity; increased demand; essential services; new product; blood serum; reasonable estimate; demographic characteristic; optimal allocation; social planner; population group; public good; richer countries; export restrictions; medical supply; annual salary; private company; medical college; intensive course; working population; global impact; mathematical theory; mitigation measure; financial group; infected person; treatment capacity; general population; medical technologist; education worker; individual activity; Public-Private Partnership; health survey; new vaccine; market cost; global health; social cost; target price; epidemiological information; unintended consequence; mitigation strategy; immune response; social tension; human interaction; island countries; blood sample; economic distress; antigen testing; disease progression; national capacity; social return; death toll; e-mail address

Downloads

COMPLETE REPORT

Official version of document (may contain signatures, etc)

  • Official PDF
  • TXT*
  • Total Downloads** :
  • Download Stats
  • *The text version is uncorrected OCR text and is included solely to benefit users with slow connectivity.

Citation

De Walque,Damien B. C. M. Friedman,Jed Gatti,Roberta V. Mattoo,Aaditya

How Two Tests Can Help Contain COVID-19 and Revive the Economy (English). Research & Policy Briefs,no. 29 Washington, D.C. : World Bank Group. http://documents.worldbank.org/curated/en/766471586360658318/How-Two-Tests-Can-Help-Contain-COVID-19-and-Revive-the-Economy