While India has been constantly promoting the use of the Aarogya Setu App, a contact tracing app to track and prevent the spread of Covid-19. A new study suggests that such apps may help suppress the spread of the pandemic. A team of researchers have shown that digital contact tracing apps may help suppress the Covid-19 outbreak.
The researchers studied the spread of Covid-19 in a stimulated population that adopted the digital tracking app. It was observed that if about 20 per cent of the population adopted the app on their smartphones, an outbreak could be reduced by about 35 per cent.
The study suggests that if more than 30 per cent of the population adopted the app, it could bring the spread of the epidemic to a manageable level.
The team of researchers tracked the effectiveness of the digital contact tracing and noted that the population's immunity levels also played a huge role in the process. This means that the intervention alone would be unable to suppress a Covid-19 epidemic where transmission -- and especially asymptomatic transmission -- remains high.
For the study, published in the journal Science Advances, the team developed a model that simulates a synthetic French population based on census data from the National Institute of Statistics and Economic Studies (INSEE).
The researchers used this synthetic population to explore the impact of digital contact tracing -- as well as detection of Covid-19 cases, quarantines, and isolation of household contacts -- under scenarios in which the virus was more or less transmissible based on the prevalence of face mask use and hand washing.
According to their findings, when the virus was highly infectious, isolation alone helped reduce the transmission bu 27 per cent. When digital technology is used as an additional measure, the cases were reduced by 35 per cent. The effective as a result of 20 per cent of the population adopting the app.
Simulating increased rates of app adoption also led to further reductions in cases, the team said.
(With inputs from IANS)