Covid19 is devastating, but there could be more dangerous infections to come. Pandemics causes damage at least two areas of SDGs: "Good Health and Well-being" is trivial - and "Reduced Inequality" by ruining the economy.
We think there should be a better-organized action plan for any worldwide epidemic, and we think our approach could be important part of the solution. Our proposal can be used even right now for the recent Covid-19 pandemic.
We are just saying: humanity has high throughput molecular biology diagnostic approaches, as a side effect of the last few years' developments in the food industry and health diagnostics businesses. Unfortunately, the magnitude change was not noticed by epidemiologists - neither anyone else. Although these new opportunities can provide different solutions to a new pandemic management strategy: instead of flattening the curve (letting many people die in a slower pace), we can keep the pandemic suppressed until the long term solutions (vaccination or medication) arrived - and we can do this in an economically feasible way, without lockdown. Simply: do perform a little bit more effective testing on the whole (affected) population than the epidemic progresses. Do that iteratively: again and again, day by day or week by week - quarantine the infected. It is counter-intuitive but this is enough - and this is very effective. We think this should be considered as a sustainable solution in case of any future pandemic - this approach gives time to the humankind until the vaccination or medicament will arrive. If we use this strategy, we can keep the society and the economy going without a strict lockdown, we can prevent the economic downturn, social tensions - even in a case of a pandemic with a very frightening death rate.
In the case of Covid-19 it can be serology or a low quality cheap rapid RNA test even it doesn't perform well (or could be PCR test with pooled samples) - if it undercovers a little more infected people than the virus infects. Just a little bit more. And this capability of the test depends on how frequently we can use this test. That's it: if a test is cheap and frequently repeatable, it can be our tool to suppress the pandemic, and carefully we can end up the lockdown.
In cases of future pandemics the testing technique, in particular, is not relevant at this moment. We think the technique will be changing, improving by time. Now we have PCR, but LAMP and NASBA is coming, and CRISPR is coming - who knows what else, and which one will be the most effective on such a high volume in the upcoming years. But all the countries have to have a disaster plan, which must include such molecular test capabilities - because of the new paradigm: mass screening by molecular biology is cheap. PCR is already here to serve us. (Later it could be LAMP, maybe CRISPR, etc.) Using 200 pieces of RT-PCR equipments with sample pooling we can screen a population of 10 million peoples in two days, for cca. €3/person. In that disaster plan we need well-defined protocols, we have to able to sequence our enemy's genome (we did it!), we need reagents in stock (we hadn't), we need the capacity to producing primers, we need an action plan to collect the equipment, staff, etc. - but all these easily feasible if we prepare, and very cheap on a society level. (For the economists: meantime we can use that disaster infrastructure to protect animals and farmers in case of animal pandemics, or we can use that infrastructure for health screening for herpes, HPV, etc. - to remove those infections from the population.)
What it does: it is just a new approach for epidemiologists
The point is the message above. We made a model that provides a calculator to manage a pandemic - and tool to choose the right parameters to manage the particular one. Here you can try it: (https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1zcW2pyTVRbVr6L1rUjr2S-u_d883GZfZ9LsYZuDMCvs/)
In case of Covid19 we already have several testing techniques available, any of those could be sufficient to put an exit plan into practice. So take a closer look to the options:
Testing technique 1.: PCR sample pooling (in the Google Spreadsheet: green)
This is a high accuracy, pricy test - but no need to iterate testing frequently, because of the accuracy. You can see this method (green) in our model, and it is feasible.
Testing technique 2. A hypothetic "cappuccino priced" rapid self-test, i.e. LAMP, serology. (see: red)
Low accuracy relative to the whole infecting period, but low price, can be repeated every day for a while - this could be as effective as a highly accurate test with broader repeating time span.
Try your own paramters here:
How I built it
By Google Sheets.
Challenges I ran into
How to explain a not-so-complex problem to the decision-makers (politicians) and to show a new strategy for epidemiologists.
Accomplishments that I'm proud of
We are proud of our contributors from different fields: epidemiology, mathematics, biology, businessman.
What I learned
Improve, improve, improve based on feedbacks.
What's next for Suppress any pandemic: Mass screening + isolation -> repeat
We want to bring more experts aboard our project and try to work out solutions to evolve our concept.