“Countries should focus on reporting asymptomatic cases, i.e. cases tested for symptoms compatible with COVID-19,” and there is a need to integrate controls with influenza cases. Moreover, “testing policies were different between countries, which affected the comparability of the data.” This is what the ECDC document notes to encourage European countries to move from emergency monitoring to sustainable and integrated monitoring systems. “Current influenza surveillance systems are not sensitive enough and represent combined surveillance for COVID-19.”
The ECDC document states that “if it is not possible to fully test all those who present symptoms, a representative subset of symptomatic cases should be tested, preferably by PCR” (molecular testing).
Experts from the European Center for Disease Control also recommend sequencing a representative subset of SARS-CoV-2-positive samples. “Genomic monitoring of representative samples should be associated with targeted whole sampling in particular environments or populations,” the paper states. Finally, it is advisable to monitor vaccine efficacy through ad hoc studies, possibly built into surveillance systems.
“Countries should continue to monitor deaths and consider seroepidemiological investigations among complementary regimes that will help achieve key surveillance goals.”
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