Assessment of the Effectiveness of Omicron Transmission Mitigation Strategies for European Universities Using an Agent-Based Network Model

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2022
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Lasser, Jana
Hell, Timotheus
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Clinical Infectious Diseases. Oxford University Press. 2022, 75(12), pp. 2097-2103. ISSN 1058-4838. eISSN 1537-6591. Available under: doi: 10.1093/cid/ciac340
Zusammenfassung

Background
Returning universities to full on-campus operations while the coronavirus disease 2019 pandemic is ongoing has been a controversial discussion in many countries. The risk of large outbreaks in dense course settings is contrasted by the benefits of in-person teaching. Transmission risk depends on a range of parameters, such as vaccination coverage and efficacy, number of contacts, and adoption of nonpharmaceutical intervention measures. Owing to the generalized academic freedom in Europe, many universities are asked to autonomously decide on and implement intervention measures and regulate on-campus operations. In the context of rapidly changing vaccination coverage and parameters of the virus, universities often lack sufficient scientific insight on which to base these decisions.

Methods
To address this problem, we analyzed a calibrated, data-driven agent-based simulation of transmission dynamics among 13 284 students and 1482 faculty members in a medium-sized European university. Wed use a colocation network reconstructed from student enrollment data and calibrate transmission risk based on outbreak size distributions in education institutions. We focused on actionable interventions that are part of the already existing decision process of universities to provide guidance for concrete policy decisions.

Results
Here we show that, with the Omicron variant of the severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2, even a reduction to 25% occupancy and universal mask mandates are not enough to prevent large outbreaks, given the vaccination coverage of about 85% reported for students in Austria.

Conclusions
Our results show that controlling the spread of the virus with available vaccines in combination with nonpharmaceutical intervention measures is not feasible in the university setting if presence of students and faculty on campus is required.

Zusammenfassung in einer weiteren Sprache
Fachgebiet (DDC)
320 Politik
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COVID-19, modeling, Prevention, network, agend-based
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Zitieren
ISO 690LASSER, Jana, Timotheus HELL, David GARCIA, 2022. Assessment of the Effectiveness of Omicron Transmission Mitigation Strategies for European Universities Using an Agent-Based Network Model. In: Clinical Infectious Diseases. Oxford University Press. 2022, 75(12), pp. 2097-2103. ISSN 1058-4838. eISSN 1537-6591. Available under: doi: 10.1093/cid/ciac340
BibTex
@article{Lasser2022Asses-59772,
  year={2022},
  doi={10.1093/cid/ciac340},
  title={Assessment of the Effectiveness of Omicron Transmission Mitigation Strategies for European Universities Using an Agent-Based Network Model},
  number={12},
  volume={75},
  issn={1058-4838},
  journal={Clinical Infectious Diseases},
  pages={2097--2103},
  author={Lasser, Jana and Hell, Timotheus and Garcia, David}
}
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