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TechCrunch+ roundup: 2022 VC predictions, how to hook an angel, product advisory councils

Well-researched personas are useful, but nothing is better than talking to a customer if you want to understand what delights them — and what they’re willing to pay for.

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I’ve worked at early-stage startups where we relied on our best guesses to shape product pipelines and develop marketing strategies.

I have also held jobs at companies where we engaged directly with current and past customers to ask them what they wanted. You can probably guess which approach generated more favorable outcomes.

Whether it’s done informally via a Reddit AMA or a Twitter Space, it’s never a bad idea to interact with people who use your products and services.


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Well-researched personas are useful, but nothing is better than talking to a customer if you want to understand what delights them — and what they’re willing to pay for.

With a product advisory council (PAC), early-stage startups can tap into the their users’ hive mind. The benefits are many: PACs can help validate everything from marketing campaigns to future product planning.

But to build one, founders must first define clear goals and create value for participants. In this seven-step guide, you’ll find strategies and tactics for identifying key members and influencers, streamlining the communication process, and creating “a little FOMO.”

Thanks very much for reading TechCrunch+ this week. I hope you have a relaxing weekend!

Walter Thompson
Senior Editor, TechCrunch+
@yourprotagonist

Why Microsoft’s $2T+ market cap makes its $68B Activision buy a cheap bet

Microsoft’s Xbox One video game console and Activision Blizzard’s Call of Duty: Modern Warfare video game arranged in Denver, Colorado, U.S., on Tuesday, Jan. 18, 2022. Microsoft Corp. agreed to buy Activision Blizzard Inc. in a $68.7 billion deal, uniting two of the biggest forces in video games to create the worlds third-biggest gaming company. Photographer: Michael Ciaglo/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Risk is an essential part of gambling, so it may be improper to describe Microsoft’s planned purchase of Activision Blizzard as a “bet.”

Considering that Microsoft has a market cap over $2 trillion, purchasing a gaming company that pumps out titles like Call of Duty, Guitar Hero and Candy Crush for $68 billion isn’t exactly fraught with danger.

According to Box CEO Aaron Levie, the move solidifies Redmond’s entry into AR/VR gaming.

“If you believe VR and immersive computing is the future — whether for consumer or business use cases — Activision helps Microsoft build a flywheel of content and technology that gets more users on board to this future.”

500 Global’s Christine Tsai shares her 2022 VC predictions

Christine Tsai, co-founder and chief executive officer of 500 Startups Management Co., listens during a Bloomberg Technology Television interview in San Francisco, California, U.S., on Tuesday, June 12, 2018. Tsai discussed Abu Dhabi Financial Group's stake in the company as well as international expansion and running the firm after co-founder Dave McClure's departure. Photographer: David Paul Morris/Bloomberg

Image Credits: Bloomberg (opens in a new window) / Getty Images

2021 was a year like no other when it came to venture investment, and this year is poised to tread a similar path, writes 500 Global’s CEO and co-founder, Christine Tsai.

According to Tsai, 2022 will see web3 going mainstream, more capital flowing to underestimated founders, and broader investments in regions that have traditionally been overlooked.

“All signs point to a continued abundance of opportunities for startup founders and investors in the year ahead.”

Will quantum computing remain the domain of the specialist VC?

Central Computer Processor digital technology and innovations

Image Credits: Olemedia (opens in a new window) / Getty Images

Quantum computing’s potential applications include machine learning and computer-aided drug design, but the industry is still very much in its early days.

In 2021, there were approximately 90 quantum investments that totaled $1.4 billion. A significant jump from $700 million the year before, but compared to SaaS, not even a drop in the bucket.

Even so, we’re already seeing quantum exits: IonQ reached a $2 billion valuation after its 2021 SPAC, and Rigetti plans to do the same this year as it develops its superconducting quantum computer.

In a comprehensive market map of the quantum computing industry, Maria Lepskaya, a senior associate at Runa Capital, sorted the top companies in the space into 12 quadrants, “each corresponding to particular quantum technology and a stage of startups.”

Dear Sophie: How do I successfully expand my company to the US?

lone figure at entrance to maze hedge that has an American flag at the center

Image Credits: Bryce Durbin/TechCrunch

Dear Sophie,

I’m an entrepreneur in Guatemala and would like to come to the United States to expand my tech company.

What is the best way to do that?

— Groundbreaking Guatemalan

5 areas where VCs can play an outsized role in addressing climate change

Five green rocker switches, all switched in the power-on position except the last one, arranged in a horizontal row on blue colored background

Climate tech startups raised $32 billion in 2021, but that amount is nowhere close to the estimated $2.5-$4.8 trillion required to fund enough adaptation and mitigation projects to make a meaningful difference.

Private investors can’t fill the gap alone, but VCs are in a unique position to change this dynamic.

By backing climate startups, they can de-risk proven climate tech, build legitimacy to attract talent, help with scaling, attract new kinds of investors, and shape the overall ecosystem, write investor Jamil Wyne and climate finance researcher Abrar Chaudhury.

“While most VC verticals will be assessed in terms of how much they return to investors, climate tech may be unique in that its success will also be determined, essentially, by its contribution to the preservation of our livelihoods and how much it can avoid a winner-take-all dynamic.”

Inside Secfi’s 2021 state of stock options equity report

Image of abstract multi colored pie chart made out of different pie peces on purple background.

Image Credits: Andriy Onufriyenko (opens in a new window) / Getty Images

It’s great to have a stake in the company you’re helping to build, but when employees don’t know the optimal way to exercise their stock options, they usually end up with a raw deal.

Last year, startup employees paid an estimated $11 billion in avoidable taxes by exercising their options post-exit, rather than pre-exit, according to Secfi data.

In a post for TechCrunch+, CEO Frederik Mijnhardt shared his analysis of the biggest trends around stock options in 2021, including why, despite stellar IPOs, most employees couldn’t exercise their options until after the exit, dramatically increasing their tax liability.

“Looking ahead to 2022, it seems that the industry’s current trend toward mega-sized rounds of funding and longer exit timelines mean that for the average startup employee, their total cost to exercise stock options will continue to rise,” says Mijnhardt.

If you want startup funding, don’t make VCs feel ignorant

Concept of the phrase physics in a nutshell. Physics formulas drawn on black paper with walnuts

Image Credits: Andreas Mann/yeEm (opens in a new window) / Getty Images

It’s important to ask potential investors questions, but first-time founders often alienate VCs by quizzing them about the breadth and depth of their knowledge.

The trick, according to Prashant Fonseka, a partner at Tuesday Capital: only ask easy questions.

“Save the challenging questions for a time when you’re selecting from multiple investors who are ready to write checks after you’ve convinced them your company is fundable.”

The berserk pace of fintech investing outshines the global VC boom

fintech

Financial technology concept.

From Buy Now, Pay Later to open banking and social finance, fintech has scaled rapidly since the pandemic began. Investment has kept pace with growth: last year, fintech accounted for more than 20% of all venture investments.

In a deeply researched post, Mary Ann Azevedo and Alex Wilhelm examine how fintech overtook and outperformed every other sector to the point where its outlines mirror that of the broader venture market.

“To some degree, it appears that what is true for the venture capital market is also true for the fintech market, but in a more exaggerated form. Fintech is like most venture, but simply more extreme.”

Changes to corporate investing rules could diminish China’s resilient venture landscape

China has a mature venture investment ecosystem, but recent interventions by the country’s government to rein in the tech sector have left many wondering whether startup investment in the country may suffer permanently.

In The Exchange, Alex Wilhelm makes the case that the country’s venture market will take a hit — but not a lethal one.

“There are lots of non-corporate investors in China who are still active. So long as they persist, the numbers will not collapse,” writes Alex.

“But potential new regulatory rules regarding major tech companies could prove to be a material knock to the country’s venture scene.”

5 essential factors for attracting angel investment

In a guest post by Marjorie Radlo-Zandi, the veteran angel investor shared five key elements she considers before investing.

Her advice is clear and simple, which makes it particularly valuable in an environment where startup funding is flowing faster than ever.

Few investors expect a first-time founder’s pitch deck to be the most definitive analysis of a particular sector, but you’re better off being cautious instead of overly optimistic.

“An extraordinarily high projection signals you’re not altogether credible, and I advise you to avoid this mistake at all costs,” says Radlo-Zandi.

There’s never been a better time to found a startup, but you can’t catch pennies from VC heaven if there are holes in your story.

NFT volume, DAOs and the curious case of LooksRare

NFT marketplace OpenSea largely had the field to itself, but after competitor LooksRare announced an airdrop for its $LOOKS token last week, it overtook OpenSea in trading volume.

“Let’s talk about incentives and governance tokens to parse out what’s up with LooksRare and the larger future of the financialization of everything,” wrote Alex Wilhelm in The Exchange.

LG and the hunt for the next-gen corporate incubator

On stage announcing LG Nova’s launch — Sokwoo Rhee, LG’s corporate SVP and head of LG Nova. Image Credits: LG

South Korean conglomerate LG produces everything from flat-screen TVs to soft drinks, so the idea that it would set up a startup incubator program isn’t a huge leap.

To learn more about the initiative, Haje Jan Kamps interviewed Sokwoo Rhee, LG’s corporate SVP and head of its North America Innovation Center.

“When I say new businesses, that can mean a lot of different things,” said Rhee. “We are willing to create a new business unit if the idea, suggestions and partnership hit a home run.”

Fintech and insurtech innovation in Brazil set to take off on regulatory tailwinds

Nubank’s present day headquarters in Sao Paulo, Brazil. Image Credits: NELSON ALMEIDA/AFP via Getty Images

A substantial portion of Brazil’s population remains underbanked, but instant payment system Pix processed more than 8 billion transactions last year.

Launched by Brazil’s central bank in November 2020, Pix is already used by 60% of the population.

To better understand how shifting regulations and increased adoption are impacting LatAm fintech startups, Anna Heim spoke to:

  • Amy Cheetham, partner, Costanoa Ventures
  • Javier Santiso, founder and general partner, Alma Mundi Ventures
  • Rodrigo Teijeiro, CEO, RecargaPay
  • Pedro Sônego de Oliveira, CEO TruePay

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Ontario election gives voters the chance to choose people over profits in long-term care

Ontario voters can bring about change by prioritizing people over profits and casting our ballots for those committed to transforming long-term care into…

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Flowers sit on a bench in front of a for-profit long-term care home in Pickering, Ont., where dozen of seniors died of COVID-19, in April 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Frank Gunn

In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, there’s a once-in-a-generation opportunity to correct how public funds will be allocated for long-term care in Ontario. The choice is between more profits for shareholders or reinvestment in care for seniors and improved working conditions for employees.

Ownership in Ontario’s publicly funded long-term care is currently split between two types of providers.

First, there are for-profit facilities, owned largely by real estate companies that hold and/or manage licences to provide care. My research has found that currently, 60.1 per cent of the beds are owned or managed by for-profits. This group is a mixture of public corporate chains, real estate investment trusts and private equity firms. Six in 10 people who live in long-term care in this province do so under a profit-taking model.

The second group are care homes that happen to own real estate and reinvest surplus back into the home. Nearly four of 10 bed licences (39.9 per cent) are owned by this group. The latter are typically called not-for-profit, although they may also be publicly owned.

Even before the pandemic, for-profit facilities were associated with significantly higher rates of mortality and hospital admission, suggesting there’s significantly worse quality of care overall in for-profit than in non-profit and public homes.

In addition, the devastation in long-term care during the height of the pandemic’s first and second waves happened mostly in for-profits, where a higher proportion of residents died. There was a 25 per cent higher risk of death from COVID-19 in for-profit facilities.

A row of white crosses on a green lawn. A small Canadian flag is attached to one of the crosses.
Crosses are displayed in memory of elderly people who died from COVID-19 at a for-profit long-term care facility in Mississauga, Ont., in November 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette

Renegotiating licences

The Ontario government is currently approving licences with operators for up to 30 years. About one-third of the existing bed licences (26,531 beds) in 257 long-term care homes will expire by June 30, 2025. These licenses are in various stages of being renegotiated for the next 30 years.

The current government also announced there will be 30,000 new beds and 28,000 upgraded beds in place by 2028, also at various stages of approval. With the renewals, renovations and construction, what happens to long-term care licences in the next calendar year will shape the course of long-term care for the next 30 years.

A vote in this election therefore represents a choice between more for-profits or a move towards non-profit long-term care.


Read more: Canadians want home care, not long-term care facilities, after COVID-19


Long-term care licences can be very lucrative. Each new bed built is eligible for a construction funding subsidy, known as a CFS, calculated per day. The CFS ranges from $20.53 to $23.78 per day depending on where the home is located; large urban settings have higher subsidies. This is in addition to the funding an operator receives from government to provide care and food.

If a home has 160 beds, an additional 75 cents per bed per day is added to the subsidy. In the most expensive urban market with 160 beds (five units of 32 people), tax dollars will fund that organization $3,924.80 per day in capital costs to a maximum of $51,376 per bed — or a subsidy for the building of $8,220,160.

These subsidies are meant to cover between 10 to 17 per cent of capital costs. Rural beds are capped at a maximum subsidy of $29,246 per bed annually, while large urban centres cap at $51,376 per bed.

There are no upper limits on bed numbers, so it’s difficult to calculate the maximum subsidy. There are few homes in the province exceeding 160 beds, but that could change. The public doesn’t have a stake in the ownership of a home due to the subsidies.

Accommodation fees

Facilities also collect and retain rental accommodation fees from residents. For semi-private, shared nursing home rooms, a resident will pay $2,280.61 monthly at current rates, and for a private room, residents are charged up to $2,701.61 per month. Those living in for-profit retirement homes, many of whom are on waiting lists for a long-term care bed, are not included in this model.

If 60 per cent of the rooms are private and not shared, and assuming current accommodation rates, my calculations show the home will collect and retain $116,719,810 in accommodation fees over the 30-year licence, or nearly $4 million per year.

These funds collected for accommodation rental are completely separate from the funds publicly paid to support care, currently set at $187.73 per day for a home operating at 100 per cent based on the complexity of the needs of its residents.

If the current government or any successive government replicates past decisions, more than 65,000 Ontarians a year will live in a for-profit facility — many run by corporations focused on their real estate investments — in the next decade. If we follow a different path, these subsidies could fund operators that are primarily care organizations and where real estate holdings support the care, not the other way around.

A man pushes his walker as he strolls outside a long-term care home.
A man takes a walk outside the not-for-profit Seven Oaks Long-Term Care Home in Toronto in June 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Frank Gunn

No one should assume they or their loved ones won’t need long-term care. All modern and caring societies have long-term care. The difference is that in countries like Norway, the focus is on high-quality, publicly delivered care, not on favouring for-profit real estate models.

Certainly not everyone will need long-term care. Not everyone needs open-heart surgery. But we do need high-quality public health care so that no one has to contemplate losing their life savings to survive. Those who need long-term care are among society’s most vulnerable members, and they deserve the very best quality of care and for every dollar to be invested in ensuring their care is top-notch.

No further study of this issue is required. Those living in for-profit facilities fare worse than those in non-profits and public homes.

In Ontario, we can prioritize people over profits by casting our ballots for those committed to transforming long-term care into a non-profit model focused on high-quality care. Know which party supports non-profit, long-term care and vote accordingly.

Tamara Daly receives funding from the Canadian Institutes of Health Research and Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council

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Lab, crab and robotic rehab

I was in Berkeley a couple of months back, helping TechCrunch get its proverbial ducks in a row before our first big climate event (coming in a few weeks,…

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I got previews of a number of projects I hope to share with you in the newsletter soon, but one that really caught my eye was FogROS, which was just announced as part of the latest ROS (robot operating system) rollout. Beyond a punny name that is simultaneously a reference to the cloud element (fog/cloud — not to mention the fact that the new department has killer views of San Francisco and frequent visitor, Karl) and problematic French cuisine, there’s some really compelling potential here.

I’ve been thinking about the potential impact of cloud-based processing quite a bit the last several years, independent of my writing about robots. Specifically, a number of companies (Microsoft, Amazon, Google) have been betting big on cloud gaming. What do you do when you’ve seemingly pushed a piece of hardware to its limit? If you’ve got low enough latency, you can harness remote servers to do the heavy lifting. It’s something that’s been tried for at least a decade, to varying effect.

Image Credits: ROS

Latency is, of course, a major factor in gaming, where being off by a millisecond can dramatically impact the experience. I’m not fully convinced that experience is where it ought to be quite yet, but it does seem the tech has graduated to a point where off-board processing makes practical sense for robotics. You can currently play a console game on a smartphone with one of those services, so surely we can produce smaller, lighter-weight and lower-cost robots that rely on a remote server to complete resource-intensive tasks like SLAM processing.

The initial application will focus on AWS, with plans to reach additional services like Google Cloud and Microsoft Azure. Watch this space. There are many reasons to be excited. Honestly, there’s a lot to be excited about in robotics generally right now. This was one of the more fun weeks in recent memory.

V Bionic's exoskeleton glove shown without its covering.

Image Credits: V Bionic

Let’s start with the ExoHeal robotic rehabilitation gloves. The device, created by Saudi Arabian V Bionic, nabbed this year’s Microsoft Imagine Cup. The early-stage team is part of a proud tradition of healthcare exoskeletons. In this case, it’s an attempt to rehab the hand following muscle and tendon injuries. Team leader Zain Samdani told TechCrunch:

Flexor linkage-driven movement gives us the flexibility to individually actuate different parts of each finger (phalanges) whilst keeping the device portable. We’re currently developing our production-ready prototype that utilizes a modular design to fit the hand sizes of different patients.

Image Credits: Walmart

This is the third week in a row Walmart gets a mention here. First it was funding for GreyOrange, which it partnered with in Canada. Last week we noted a big expansion of the retail giant’s deal with warehouse automation firm, Symbotic. Now it’s another big expansion of an existing deal — this time dealing with the company’s delivery ambitions.

Like Walmart’s work with robotics, drone delivery success has been…spotty, at best. Still, it’s apparently ready to put its money where its mouth is on this one, with a deal that brings DroneUp delivery to 34 sites across six U.S. states. Quoting myself here:

The retailer announced an investment in the 6-year-old startup late last year, following trial deliveries of COVID-19 testing kits. Early trials were conducted in Bentonville, Arkansas. This year, Arizona, Florida, Texas and DroneUp’s native Virginia are being added to the list. Once online, customers will be able to choose from tens of thousands of products, from Tylenol to hot dog buns, between the hours of 8 a.m. and 8 p.m.

Freigegeben für die Berichterstattung über das Unternehemn Wingcopter bis zum 25.01.2026. Mit Bitte um Urhebervermerk v.l.: Jonathan Hesselbarth, Tom Plümmer und Ansgar Kadura von Wingcopter GmbH. Image Credits: © Jonas Wresch / KfW

There are still more question marks around this stuff than anything, and I’ve long contended that drone delivery makes the most sense in remote and otherwise hard to reach areas. That’s why something like this Wingcopter deal is interesting. Over the next five years, the company plans to bring 12,000 of its fixed-wing UAVs to 49 countries across Sub-Saharan Africa. It will cover spots that have traditionally struggled with infrastructural issues that have made it difficult to deliver food and medical supplies through more traditional means.

“With the looming food crisis on the African continent triggered by the war in Ukraine, we see great potential and strong social impact that drone-delivery networks can bring to people in all the countries in Sub-Saharan Africa by getting food to where it is needed most,” CEO Tom Plümmer told TechCrunch. “Especially in remote areas with weak infrastructure and those areas that are additionally affected by droughts and other plagues, Wingcopter’s delivery drones will build an air bridge and provide food from the sky on a winch to exactly where it is needed.”

Legitimately exciting stuff, that.

Image Credits: Dyson

In more cautiously optimistic news, Dyson dropped some interesting news this week, announcing that it has been (and will continue) pumping a lot of money into robotic research. Part of the rollout includes refitting an aircraft hangar at Hullavington Airfield, a former RAF station in Chippenham, Wiltshire, England that the company purchased back in 2016.

Some numbers from the company:

Dyson is halfway through the largest engineering recruitment drive in its history. Two thousand people have joined the tech company this year, of which 50% are engineers, scientists, and coders. Dyson is supercharging its robotics ambitions, recruiting 250 robotics engineers across disciplines including computer vision, machine learning, sensors and mechatronics, and expects to hire 700 more in the robotics field over the next five years. The master plan: to create the UK’s largest, most advanced, robotics center at Hullavington Airfield and to bring the technology into our homes by the end of the decade.

The primary project highlighted is a robot arm with a number of attachments, including a vacuum and a human-like robot hand, which are designed to perform various household tasks. Dyson has some experience building robots, primarily through its vacuums, which rely on things like computer vision to autonomously navigate. Still, I say “cautiously optimistic,” because I’ve seen plenty of non-robotics companies showcase the technology as more of a vanity project. But I’m more than happy to have Dyson change my mind.

Image Credits: Hyundai

Hyundai, of course, has been quite aggressive in its own robotics dreams, including its 2020 acquisition of Boston Dynamics. The carmaker this week announced that part of its massive new $10 billion investment plans will include robotics, with a focus of actually bringing some of its far-out concepts to market.

Another week, another big round for logistics/fulfillment robotics, as Polish firm Nomagic raised $22 million to expand its offerings. The company’s primary offering is a pick and place arm that can move and sort small goods. Khosla Ventures and Almaz Capital led the round, which also featured European Investment Bank, Hoxton Ventures, Capnamic Ventures, DN Capital and Manta Ray.

Amazon Astro with periscope camera

The periscope camera pops out and extends telescopically, enabling Astro to look over obstacles and on counter tops. A very elegant design choice. Image Credits: Haje Kamps for TechCrunch

We finally got around to reviewing Amazon’s limited-edition home robot, Astro, and Haje’s feelings were…mixed:

It’s been fun to have Astro wandering about my apartment for a few days, and most of the time I seemed to use it as a roving boom box that also has Alexa capabilities. That’s cute, and all, but $1,000 would buy Alexa devices for every thinkable surface in my room and leave me with enough cash left over to cover the house in cameras. I simply continue to struggle with why Astro makes sense. But then, that’s true for any product that is trying to carve out a brand new product category.

A tiny robot crab scuttles across the frame. Image Credits: Northwestern University

And finally, a tiny robot crab from Northwestern University. The little guy can be controlled remotely using lasers and is small enough to sit on the side of a penny. “Our technology enables a variety of controlled motion modalities and can walk with an average speed of half its body length per second,” says lead researcher, Yonggang Huang. “This is very challenging to achieve at such small scales for terrestrial robots.”

Image Credits: Bryce Durbin/TechCrunch

Scuttle, don’t walk to subscribe to Actuator.

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Asymptomatic SARS-CoV-2 infections responsible for spreading of COVID-19 less than symptomatic infections

Based on studies published through July 2021, most SARS-CoV-2 infections were not persistently asymptomatic, and asymptomatic infections were less infectious…

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Based on studies published through July 2021, most SARS-CoV-2 infections were not persistently asymptomatic, and asymptomatic infections were less infectious than symptomatic infections. These are the conclusions of an update of a systematic review and meta-analysis publishing May 26th in the open access journal PLOS Medicine by Diana Buitrago-Garcia of the University of Bern, Switzerland, and colleagues.

Credit: Monstera, Pexels (CC0, https://creativecommons.org/publicdomain/zero/1.0/)

Based on studies published through July 2021, most SARS-CoV-2 infections were not persistently asymptomatic, and asymptomatic infections were less infectious than symptomatic infections. These are the conclusions of an update of a systematic review and meta-analysis publishing May 26th in the open access journal PLOS Medicine by Diana Buitrago-Garcia of the University of Bern, Switzerland, and colleagues.

Debate about the level and risks of asymptomatic SARS-CoV-2 infections continues, with much ongoing research. Studies that assess people at just one time point can overestimate the proportion of true asymptomatic infections because those who go on to later develop symptoms are incorrectly classified as asymptomatic rather than presymptomatic. However, other studies can underestimate asymptomatic infections with research designs that are more likely to include symptomatic participants.

The new paper was an update of a living (as in, regularly updated) systematic review first published in April 2020, which includes additional, more recent studies through July 2021. 130 studies were included, with data on 28,426 people with SARS-CoV-2 across 42 countries, including 11,923 people defined as having asymptomatic infection. Because of extreme variability between included studies, the meta-analysis did not calculate a single estimate for asymptomatic infection rate, but it did estimate the inter-quartile range to be that 14–50% of infections were asymptomatic. Additionally, the researchers found that the secondary attack rate—a measure of the risk of transmission of SARS-CoV-2 — was about two-thirds lower from people without symptoms than from those with symptoms (risk ratio 0.32, 95%CI 0.16–0.64).

“If both the proportion and transmissibility of asymptomatic infection are relatively low, people with asymptomatic SARS-CoV-2 infection should account for a smaller proportion of overall transmission than presymptomatic individuals,” the authors say, while also pointing out that “when SARS-CoV-2 community transmission levels are high, physical distancing measures and mask-wearing need to be sustained to prevent transmission from close contact with people with asymptomatic and presymptomatic infection.”

Coauthor Nicola Low adds, “The true proportion of asymptomatic SARS-CoV-2 infection is still not known, and it would be misleading to rely on a single number because the 130 studies that we reviewed were so different. People with truly asymptomatic infection are, however, less infectious than those with symptomatic infection.”

#####

In your coverage, please use this URL to provide access to the freely available paper in PLOS Medicine:

http://journals.plos.org/plosmedicine/article?id=10.1371/journal.pmed.1003987  

Citation: Buitrago-Garcia D, Ipekci AM, Heron L, Imeri H, Araujo-Chaveron L, Arevalo-Rodriguez I, et al. (2022) Occurrence and transmission potential of asymptomatic and presymptomatic SARS-CoV-2 infections: Update of a living systematic review and meta-analysis. PLoS Med 19(5): e1003987. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pmed.1003987

Author Countries: Switzerland, France, Spain, Argentina, United Kingdom, Sweden, United States, Colombia

Funding: This study was funded by the Swiss National Science Foundation http://www.snf.ch/en (NL: 320030_176233); the European Union Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme https://ec.europa.eu/programmes/horizon2020/en (NL: 101003688); the Swiss government excellence scholarship https://www.sbfi.admin.ch/sbfi/en/home/education/scholarships-and-grants/swiss-government-excellence-scholarships.html (DBG: 2019.0774) and the Swiss School of Public Health Global P3HS stipend https://ssphplus.ch/en/ (DBG). The funders had no role in study design, data collection and analysis, decision to publish, or preparation of the manuscript.


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