Non-Canadian Strategies to COVID-19 Testing

Last Updated: August 25, 2020

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This Briefing Note was completed by the Research, Analysis, and Evaluation Branch (Ministry of Health)
based on information provided by members of the COVID-19 Evidence Synthesis Network. Please refer to the Methods section for further information.

Purpose

This note provides a summary of evidence on approaches to COVID-19 testing identified in non-Canadian jurisdictions, with a focus on approaches to using three types of diagnostic tests: molecular,
antigen, and serologic. This note also includes information about the populations targeted for testing and the location of testing, as well as planned or proposed approaches to environmental surveillance testing.

*The full version of the Briefing Note including Supporting Evidence and the Appendix can be accessed in the PDF file at the top of the page*

Key Findings

Supporting Evidence

*The entirety of the Supporting Evidence section can be accessed in the PDF file located at the top of the page*

This section summarizes evidence on approaches to COVID-19 testing in non-Canadian jurisdictions.
The identified approaches are from 12 countries (i.e., Australia, China, France, Germany, Iceland, Israel,
Italy, Netherlands, New Zealand, South Korea, Switzerland, and the United Kingdom [UK]) and eight states in the United States (US) (i.e., Alaska, California [CA], District of Columbia [DC], Louisiana, Massachusetts [MA], Michigan, New York, and Rhode Island [RI]), with a focus on their approaches to using three types of diagnostic tests: molecular, antigen, and serologic. Some planned or proposed approaches to environmental surveillance testing are also included.

Additional details are provided on each of these topics in the Appendix as follows: Table 2 summarizes the testing approaches in eight countries and five US states. Table 3 summarizes novel strategies or
technologies for surveillance in 10 countries (i.e., Australia, China, Italy, Israel, Netherlands, New Zealand,
South Korea, Switzerland, the UK, and the US). Table 4 summarizes guidance from international health
agencies. Table 5 summarizes research and innovative technologies identified in France, Germany, Israel, and the US.

Methods

  • The COVID-19 Evidence Synthesis Network is comprised of groups specializing in evidence synthesis and knowledge translation. The group has committed to provide their expertise to provide high-quality, relevant, and timely synthesized research evidence about COVID-19 to inform decision makers as the pandemic continues. The following members of the Network provided evidence synthesis products that were used to develop this Evidence Synthesis Briefing Note:
    • Dinnes_J, Deeks_JJ, Adriano_A, Berhane_S, Davenport_C, Dittrich_S, Emperador_D, Takwoingi_Y, Cunningham_J, Beese_S, Dretzke_J, Ferrante di Ruffano_L, Harris_IM, Price_MJ, Taylor-Phillips_S, Hooft_L, Leeflang_MMG, Spijker_R, Van den Bruel_A. Rapid, point-of-care antigen and molecular-based tests for diagnosis of SARS-CoV-2 infection. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews 2020, Issue 8. Art. No.: CD013705. DOI: 10.1002/14651858.CD013705.
    • Ontario Health (Quality). Surveillance strategies and technologies used to monitor and manage COVID-19 spread: A jurisdictional scan, August 25, 2020.
    • Waddell K, Wilson MG, Bhuiya A, Ahmad A, Gauvin FP, Wang Q, Lavis JN. COVID-19 rapid query response #3: What testing approaches are being used in other countries? Hamilton: McMaster Health Forum, 25 August 2020.

For more information or to request a copy of any of the cited reports, please contact the Research, Analysis and Evaluation Branch (Ministry of Health).