British scientists wish to contribute to the fight against the novel Coronavirus through an unusual experiment, according to the Royal Society Open Science magazine.
They propose to lift all lockdown measures in a medium-sized city to determine whether it is possible to fight the virus using only weekly testing of all residents, applications and quarantining.
The weekly tests can be done on saliva samples, according to the team of scientists, led by epidemiologist Julian Peto of the London School of Hygiene and Tropical and Medicine. The new saliva tests allow broad swathes of the population to be tested quickly. The RT-LAMP technique is also cheaper and less invasive that swab testing.
Anyone who is tested would need to remain in isolation. Verifying their contacts and smartphones could also have an effect.
Citing the study, the Independent newspaper said the researchers were thinking of a town of about 25,000 inhabitants. It quotes Julian Peto as wondering why the idea has not yet been taken up.
Just one study in an entire town, with weekly testing and the lifting of confinement can determine whether the epidemic can be controlled, according to the researchers, who accused the British government of reacting too late and incorrectly to the pandemic.