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Joint Estimation of Generation Time and Incubation Period for Coronavirus Disease 2019

journal contribution
posted on 2023-07-17, 05:18 authored by YC Lau, TK Tsang, L Kennedy-Shaffer, R Kahn, EHY Lau, D Chen, JY Wong, ST Ali, P Wu, BJ Cowling
Background. Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) has caused a heavy disease burden globally. The impact of process and timing of data collection on the accuracy of estimation of key epidemiological distributions are unclear. Because infection times are typically unobserved, there are relatively few estimates of generation time distribution. Methods. We developed a statistical framework to jointly estimate generation time and incubation period from human-to-human transmission pairs, accounting for sampling biases. We applied the framework on 80 laboratory-confirmed human-to-human transmission pairs in China. We further inferred the infectiousness profile, serial interval distribution, proportions of presymptomatic transmission, and basic reproduction number (R0) for COVID-19. Results. The estimated mean incubation period was 4.8 days (95% confidence interval [CI], 4.1–5.6), and mean generation time was 5.7 days (95% CI, 4.8–6.5). The estimated R0 based on the estimated generation time was 2.2 (95% CI, 1.9–2.4). A simulation study suggested that our approach could provide unbiased estimates, insensitive to the width of exposure windows. Conclusions. Properly accounting for the timing and process of data collection is critical to have correct estimates of generation time and incubation period. R0 can be biased when it is derived based on serial interval as the proxy of generation time.

History

Journal

Journal of Infectious Diseases

Volume

224

Pagination

1664-1671

Location

United States

ISSN

0022-1899

eISSN

1537-6613

Language

en

Publication classification

C1.1 Refereed article in a scholarly journal

Issue

10

Publisher

Oxford University Press (OUP)