The Briefing provides an at-a-glance view of some important developments in the information universe surrounding COVID-19. The views presented here are solely those of ECRI Horizon Scanning and have not been vetted by other stakeholders.

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Variants matter. The latest COVID-19 threat on the horizon, the B.1.1.7 variant, might be less deadly, but it apparently spreads much more easily. Therefore, the prospect of exponential growth in COVID-19 case numbers calls for continued efforts to flatten the curve through mask wearing, social distancing, risk management tools, and testing (see Topics to Watch).

COVID-19 is not just a killer, it can also lead to long-term debilitation. The latest patient-led research into Long COVID reports symptoms in 9 organ systems. Although the number of symptoms reportedly peaked at month 2, many of the first Americans to fall ill with COVID-19 in March and April of 2020 had not fully recovered at the 7-month mark of this survey and may still be having symptoms today.

COVID-19 Testing Impact Calculator

At a Glance

  • The COVID-19 Testing Impact Calculator is a risk modeling and mitigation tool. It gives organizations clear and customized guidance on testing and risk-reduction measures to limit coronavirus transmission and budget impact while remaining open.
  • The modeling tool purportedly incorporates the latest testing and prevention strategies to visually demonstrate how policies—regarding masks, contact tracing, limiting unmasked social gatherings, and regular coronavirus testing—can affect the spread of COVID-19 in the organization’s immediate environment.
  • Users input details about their site, and the calculator provides customized surveillance testing scenarios of 4 different onsite or laboratory-based COVID-19 testing methods.
  • The model also provides estimates of the number of people who need to be tested daily to identify and isolate potentially contagious individuals and the weekly cost for each testing method.

Ellume Over-the-Counter and At-Home Assay to Diagnose COVID-19

At a Glance

  • The Ellume COVID-19 Home Test is the first over-the-counter coronavirus test granted Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) for home use by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and is intended for people aged 2 years or older regardless of symptoms or other reasons to suspect COVID-19 infection.
  • The low-complexity lateral flow immunoassay detects SARS-CoV-2 nucleocapsid antigens from self-collected, mid-nasal swabs in about 20 minutes and costs about $30.
  • The single-use analyzer kit connects with a smartphone app to provide step-by-step video instructions and automatically receive test results, which are shared with providers and health authorities to help manage and monitor COVID-19 cases.
  • The Ellume test had a sensitivity of 95% and a specificity of 97% compared with an EUA reverse transcriptase polymerase chain reaction assay in 198 mid-nasal samples.

Commentary in this COVID-19 Scan reflects preliminary views of ECRI Horizon Scanning and internal ECRI stakeholders.
The information contained in this document has not been vetted by other stakeholders.

We welcome your comments on this Scan. Send them by email to [email protected].

Posted: January 14, 2021

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