Background:During the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic in 2020, the UK government began a mass severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) testing program. This study aimed to determine the feasibility and acceptability of organized regular self-testing for SARS-CoV-2. Methods:This was a mixed-methods observational cohort study in asymptomatic students and staff at University of Oxford, who performed SARS-CoV-2 antigen lateral flow self-testing. Data on uptake and adherence, acceptability, and test interpretation were collected via a smartphone app, an online survey, and qualitative interviews. Results:Across 3 main sites, 551 participants (25% of those invited) performed 2728 tests during a follow-up of 5.6 weeks; 447 participants (81%) completed at least 2 tests, and 340 (62%) completed at least 4. The survey, completed by 214 participants (39%), found that 98% of people were confident to self-test and believed self-testing to be beneficial. Acceptability of self-testing was high, with 91% of ratings being acceptable or very acceptable. A total of 2711 (99.4%) test results were negative, 9 were positive, and 8 were inconclusive. Results from 18 qualitative interviews with students and staff revealed that participants valued regular testing, but there were concerns about test accuracy that impacted uptake and adherence. Conclusions:This is the first study to assess feasibility and acceptability of regular SARS-CoV-2 self-testing. It provides evidence to inform recruitment for, adherence to, and acceptability of regular SARS-CoV-2 self-testing programs for asymptomatic individuals using lateral flow tests. We found that self-testing is acceptable and people were able to interpret results accurately.
Open forum infectious diseases
Nuffield Department of Primary Care Health Sciences, University of Oxford, Radcliffe Observatory Quarter, Oxford, United Kingdom.