Published time: 13 July 2020
Authors: Peter Ashcroft, Jana S. Huisman, Sonja Lehtinen, Judith A. Bouman, Christian L. Althaus, Roland R. Regoes, Sebastian Bonhoeffer
Keywords: decision making, corrected profiles, infectivity profile, COVID19
The infectivity profile of an individual with COVID-19 is attributed to the paper Temporal dynamics in viral shedding and transmissibility of COVID-19 by He et al., published in Nature Medicine in April 2020. However, the analysis within this paper contains a mistake such that the published infectivity profile is incorrect and the conclusion that infectiousness begins 2.3 days before symptom onset is no longer supported. In this document we discuss the error and compute the correct infectivity profile. We also establish confidence intervals on this profile, quantify the difference between the published and the corrected profiles, and discuss an issue of normalisation when fitting serial interval data. This infectivity profile plays a central role in policy and decision making, thus it is crucial that this issue is corrected with the utmost urgency to prevent the propagation of this error into further studies and policies. We hope that this preprint will reach all researchers and policy makers who are using the incorrect infectivity profile to inform their work.
COVID-19 infectivity profile correction