Spotlight on the Cochrane Acute Respiratory Infections Review Group

 

The Cochrane Acute Respiratory Infections (ARI) Group is one of 52 Review Groups in The Cochrane Collaboration, whose contributors are responsible for preparing and updating Cochrane Reviews in a particular area of health. Each Review Group has an editorial base from where the Group’s activities are co-ordinated, situated in academic, research and medical institutions across the world. Cochrane Review Groups employ a mix of full and part-time staff at their editorial bases, funded by their host organisation and other research grants, but working for the common goals of the Collaboration. (See all of the Collaboration's funders here)

The Cochrane ARI Group is currently hosted by Bond University in Queensland, Australia, and was one of the first Cochrane Review Groups to be established, in 1994. It has over 600 contributing authors from 40 countries, who have prepared, or are in the process or preparing, 180 Cochrane Reviews and protocols for new reviews in the area of acute respiratory health. Healthcare interventions reviewed by Cochrane ARI authors include those for the prevention, treatment or diagnosis of the common cold, influenza and meningitis.

ARI contributor profile:

Tom Jefferson

Tom Jefferson’s professional career has spanned two specialties: General Practice (1980–1985 and 1999 to date) and Public Health (since 1986). He is HTA scientific advisor to the Italian National Agency for Regional Health Services and lives in Rome.

Tom has been a contributor to The Cochrane Collaboration for over 15 years and is an author and editor for the Cochrane Acute Respiratory Infections (ARI) Group, a member of four other Cochrane Review Groups, two Methods Groups and the co-ordinator of the Cochrane Vaccines Field. His main research interests are the application of systematic reviewing methods to studies of vaccines and antivirals with a variety designs (such as trials, economic evaluations and epidemiological studies), and peer review. Tom is a high-profile campaigner against pharmaceutical and other commercial companies influencing health policy. He recently received extensive media coverage in his criticism of the handling of the H1N1 (swine flu) outbreak by governments worldwide, which he argued was not evidence-based. 

In a Cochrane Review published in The Cochrane Library in February 2011, Meenu Singh, an ARI Group author from the Post Graduate Institute of Medical Education and Research, Chandigarh, India, found from systematically reviewing all the available evidence, that zinc (taken as lozenges or syrup) is beneficial in reducing the duration and severity of the common cold in healthy people, when taken within 24 hours of onset of symptoms. People taking zinc are also less likely to have persistence of their cold symptoms beyond seven days of treatment. This Cochrane Review received enormous worldwide media coverage, which you can read about here.

Chris Del Mar has been the ARI Group’s Co-ordinating Editor since 2001 and is Professor of Primary Care Research at the Faculty of Health Sciences and Medicine at Bond University. Also at the editorial base are Liz Dooley, who as Managing Editor supervises the editorial processes for the ARI Group’s reviews and protocols, and Clare Dooley, who supports Liz part-time by processing requests from authors to register new Cochrane Review titles, which they hope to prepare and publish. Sarah Thorning is the Group’s Trials Search Co-ordinator and is responsible for maintaining the Group's Specialised Register of randomised and clinical controlled trials – the database of raw data on which authors conduct their systematic reviews.

The Cochrane ARI Group would like to thank the following organisations for their funding:

  • The Department of Health and Ageing, Australian Federal Government
  • Bruce and Sue Shepherd
  • The Australasian Cochrane Centre
  • The UK National Institute for Health Research (NIHR)
  • The National Health and Research Council (NHMRC) of Australia

The generosity of these organisations allows the Cochrane ARI Group to maintain efficient publication of high-quality, relevant medical evidence.

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Updated on: August 17, 2011, 12:23

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