A solution scan of societal options to reduce transmission and spread of respiratory viruses: SARS-CoV-2 as a case study

Peer-reviewed paper by William Sutherland, Nigel G. Taylor, David C. Aldridge, Philip Martin, Catherine Rhodes, Gorm Shackelford, SJ Beard, Haydn Belfield, Andrew J. Bladon, Cameron Brick, Alec P. Christie, Andrew P. Dobson, Harriet Downey, Amelia S.C. Hood, Fangyuan Hua, Alice C. Hughes, Rebecca M. Jarvis, Douglas MacFarlane, Silviu O. Petrovan
Published on 31 December 2021


Societal biosecurity – measures built into everyday society to minimize risks from pests and diseases – is an important aspect of managing epidemics and pandemics. We aimed to identify societal options for reducing the transmission and spread of respiratory viruses. We used SARS-CoV-2 (severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2) as a case study to meet the immediate need to manage the COVID-19 pandemic and eventually transition to more normal societal conditions, and to catalog options for managing similar pandemics in the future. We used a ‘solution scanning’ approach. We read the literature; consulted psychology, public health, medical, and solution scanning experts; crowd-sourced options using social media; and collated comments on a preprint. Here, we present a list of 519 possible measures to reduce SARS-CoV-2 transmission and spread. We provide a long list of options for policymakers and businesses to consider when designing biosecurity plans to combat SARS-CoV-2 and similar pathogens in the future. We also developed an online application to help with this process. We encourage testing of actions, documentation of outcomes, revisions to the current list, and the addition of further options.

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