Assessment of Simulated Surveillance Testing and Quarantine in a SARS-CoV-2-Vaccinated Population of Students on a University Campus.

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Motta, Francis C
McGoff, Kevin A
Deckard, Anastasia
Wolfe, Cameron R
Bonsignori, Mattia
Moody, M Anthony
Cavanaugh, Kyle
Denny, Thomas N
Harer, John
Haase, Steven B

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The importance of surveillance testing and quarantine on university campuses to limit SARS-CoV-2 transmission needs to be reevaluated in the context of a complex and rapidly changing environment that includes vaccines, variants, and waning immunity. Also, recent US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines suggest that vaccinated students do not need to participate in surveillance testing.


To evaluate the use of surveillance testing and quarantine in a fully vaccinated student population for whom vaccine effectiveness may be affected by the type of vaccination, presence of variants, and loss of vaccine-induced or natural immunity over time.

Design setting and participants

In this simulation study, an agent-based Susceptible, Exposed, Infected, Recovered model was developed with some parameters estimated using data from the 2020 to 2021 academic year at Duke University (Durham, North Carolina) that described a simulated population of 5000 undergraduate students residing on campus in residential dormitories. This study assumed that 100% of residential undergraduates are vaccinated. Under varying levels of vaccine effectiveness (90%, 75%, and 50%), the reductions in the numbers of positive cases under various mitigation strategies that involved surveillance testing and quarantine were estimated.

Main outcomes and measures

The percentage of students infected with SARS-CoV-2 each day for the course of the semester (100 days) and the total number of isolated or quarantined students were estimated.


A total of 5000 undergraduates were simulated in the study. In simulations with 90% vaccine effectiveness, weekly surveillance testing was associated with only marginally reduced viral transmission. At 50% to 75% effectiveness, surveillance testing was estimated to reduce the number of infections by as much as 93.6%. A 10-day quarantine protocol for exposures was associated with only modest reduction in infections until vaccine effectiveness dropped to 50%. Increased testing of reported contacts was estimated to be at least as effective as quarantine at limiting infections.

Conclusions and relevance

In this simulated modeling study of infection dynamics on a college campus where 100% of the student body is vaccinated, weekly surveillance testing was associated with a substantial reduction of campus infections with even a modest loss of vaccine effectiveness. Model simulations also suggested that an increased testing cadence can be as effective as a 10-day quarantine period at limiting infections. Together, these findings provide a potential foundation for universities to design appropriate mitigation protocols for the 2021 to 2022 academic year.


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Motta, Francis C, Kevin A McGoff, Anastasia Deckard, Cameron R Wolfe, Mattia Bonsignori, M Anthony Moody, Kyle Cavanaugh, Thomas N Denny, et al. (2021). Assessment of Simulated Surveillance Testing and Quarantine in a SARS-CoV-2-Vaccinated Population of Students on a University Campus. JAMA health forum, 2(10). p. e213035. 10.1001/jamahealthforum.2021.3035 Retrieved from

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Cameron Robert Wolfe

Professor of Medicine

HIV infection, Transplant-related infectious diseases, general infectious diseases, Biological and Emergency Preparedness for hospital systems, influenza and respiratory viral pathogens


Michael Anthony Moody

Professor of Pediatrics

Tony Moody, MD is a Professor in the Department of Pediatrics, Division of Infectious Diseases and Professor in the Department of Integrative Immunobiology at Duke University Medical Center. Research in the Moody lab is focused on understanding the B cell responses during infection, vaccination, and disease. The lab has become a resource for human phenotyping, flow characterization, staining and analysis at the Duke Human Vaccine Institute (DHVI). The Moody lab is currently funded to study influenza, syphilis, HIV-1, and emerging infectious diseases.

Dr. Moody is the director of the Duke CIVICs Vaccine Center (DCVC) at (DHVI) and co-director of the Centers for Research of Emerging Infectious Disease Coordinating Center (CREID-CC). Dr. Moody is co-PI of a U19 program to develop a syphilis vaccine; this program is led by Dr. Justin Radolf at the University of Connecticut. Dr. Moody is also the director of the DHVI Accessioning Unit, a biorepository that provides support for work occurring at DHVI and with its many collaborators around the world by providing processing, shipping, and inventory support for a wide array of projects.

Dr. Moody and his team are involved in many networks studying vaccine response including the Collaborative Influenza Vaccine Innovation Centers (CIVICs) and the COVID-19 Prevention Network (CoVPN).


Thomas Norton Denny

Professor in Medicine

Thomas N. Denny, MSc, M.Phil, is the Chief Operating Officer of the Duke Human Vaccine Institute (DHVI), Associate Dean for Duke Research and Discovery @RTP, and a Professor of Medicine in the Department of Medicine at Duke University Medical Center. He is also an Affiliate Member of the Duke Global Health Institute. Previously, he served on the Health Sector Advisory Council of the Duke University Fuquay School of Business. Prior to joining Duke, he was an Associate Professor of Pathology, Laboratory Medicine and Pediatrics, Associate Professor of Preventive Medicine and Community Health and Assistant Dean for Research in Health Policy at the New Jersey Medical School, Newark, New Jersey. He has served on numerous committees for the NIH over the last two decades and currently is the principal investigator of an NIH portfolio in excess of 65 million dollars. Mr. Denny was a 2002-2003 Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Health Policy Fellow at the Institute of Medicine of the National Academies (IOM). As a fellow, he served on the US Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee with legislation/policy responsibilities in global AIDS, bioterrorism, clinical trials/human subject protection and vaccine related-issues.

As the Chief Operating Officer of the DHVI, Mr. Denny has senior oversight of the DHVI research portfolio and the units/teams that support the DHVI mission. He has extensive international experience and previously was a consultant to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) for the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) project to oversee the development of an HIV and Public Health Center of Excellence laboratory network in Guyana. In September 2004, the IOM appointed him as a consultant to their Board on Global Health Committee studying the options for overseas placement of U.S. health professionals and the development of an assessment plan for activities related to the 2003 PEPFAR legislative act. In the 1980s, Mr. Denny helped establish a small laboratory in the Republic of Kalmykia (former Soviet Union) to improve the care of children with HIV/AIDS and served as a Board Member of the Children of Chernobyl Relief Fund Foundation. In 2005, Mr. Denny was named a consulting medical/scientific officer to the WHO Global AIDS Program in Geneva. He has also served as program reviewers for the governments of the Netherlands and South Africa as well as an advisor to several U.S. biotech companies. He currently serves as the Chair of the Scientific Advisory Board for Grid Biosciences.

Mr. Denny has authored and co-authored more than 200 peer-reviewed papers and serves on the editorial board of Communications in Cytometry and Journal of Clinical Virology. He holds an M.Sc in Molecular and Biomedical Immunology from the University of East London and a degree in Medical Law (M.Phil) from the Institute of Law and Ethics in Medicine, School of Law, University of Glasgow. In 1991, he completed a course of study in Strategic Management at The Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania. In 1993, he completed the Program for Advanced Training in Biomedical Research Management at Harvard School of Public Health. In December 2005, he was inducted as a Fellow into the College of Physicians of Philadelphia, the oldest medical society in the US.

While living in New Jersey, Mr. Denny was active in his community, gaining additional experience from two publicly elected positions. In 2000, Mr. Denny was selected by the New Jersey League of Municipalities to Chair the New Jersey Community Mental Health Citizens’ Advisory Board and Mental Health Planning Council as a gubernatorial appointment.


John Harer

Professor Emeritus of Mathematics

Professor Harer's primary research is in the use of geometric, combinatorial and computational techniques to study a variety of problems in data analysis, shape recognition, image segmentation, tracking, cyber security, ioT, biological networks and gene expression.


Steven B. Haase

Professor of Biology

Our group is broadly interested in understanding the biological clock mechanisms that control the timing of events during the cell division cycle. In 2008, the Haase group proposed a new model in which a complex network of sequentially activated transcription factors regulates the precise timing of gene expression during the cell-cycle, and functions as a robust time-keeping oscillator. Greater than a thousand genes are expressed at distinct phases of the cycle, and the control network itself consists of ~20 components, so this dynamical system is far too complex to understand simply by biological intuition. We rely heavily on the expertise of the Harer group (Dept. of Mathematics, Duke University) for the analysis of complex data, and their understanding of dynamical systems.  Using a collection of tools, including molecular genetics, genomics, mathematical models, and statistical inference, our groups aim to understand how the cell division clock works, how it might be perturbed in proliferative diseases such as cancer, and how the clock components might be targeted for new anti-tumor therapies.  Qualitatively, the clock networks that control the yeast cell cycle look much like the networks controlling circadian rhythms in a variety of organisms. More recently, we have been using our experimental and quantitative approaches to investigate the function of circadian clocks, as well as clocks that control the division and development of pathogenic organisms such as P. falciparum and P. vivax, the causative agents of malaria.

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