Cochrane's work on Rapid Reviews in response to COVID-19

In the times of the COVID-19 pandemic, we must answer the time-sensitive needs of health decision makers as fast as possible, while simultaneously ensuring that the scientific imperative of methodological rigor is satisfied. We are working hard to speed up the normal process for important Cochrane systematic reviews. In response to this we have:

Created a fast tracked Editorial Service and documentation

Created methods guidance for Rapid Reviews

Cochrane's work on Rapid Reviews in response to COVID-19

Prioritized questions while working closely with front-line healthcare workers & health agencies

Completed work on a Rapid Review that focuses on several quarantine questions

What is a rapid review?

Rapid reviews can take many forms. The Cochrane Rapid Reviews Methods Group has proposed the following definition: “A form of knowledge synthesis that accelerates the process of conducting a traditional systematic review through streamlining or omitting specific methods to produce evidence for stakeholders in a resource-efficient manner.”

Now more than ever, the importance of producing reliable, high quality rapid evidence synthesis is vital. We seek the support of the scientific community in these collaborative efforts.

Who are rapid reviews for?

Cochrane COVID Rapid Reviews seek to provide rapid evidence-based information to clinicians, policy makers, and the public to inform decision making during the coronavirus pandemic.

How are Cochrane COVID Rapid Reviews Created?

Cochrane has engaged with WHO and other international stakeholders to build a bank of questions, which is constantly being prioritized and refined. Screening searches keep up-to-date with non-Cochrane rapid reviews to help reduce duplication of effort.

The COVID-19 situation is moving at an extraordinary pace and the need for evidence is evolving. Cochrane Rapid Reviews can help to address this need by delivering evidence syntheses quickly. Experienced Cochrane author teams from around the world have volunteered to donate their time and we are helping by coordinating with author teams, and providing literature searches, logistical and methodological support.

Our streamlined templates help author teams to conduct reviews quickly and efficiently while maintaining high methodological standards. We also offer support via a fast-track editorial service, which aims to assess quality within one week of reviews being submitted, and to complete the editorial process within two weeks. Cochrane will also support the update of these rapid reviews if and when more relevant evidence becomes available.

How can I help?

Novice and experienced researchers and translators can offer their help with tasks on Cochrane TaskExchange.

If you are aware that a question in our Question Bank has already been taken forward by researchers elsewhere (or your own team), please email to help us prevent duplication of effort.

If you have a team in place and are interested in conducting a Cochrane COVID Rapid Review to address one of the questions in the Question Bank, please read the information about Authoring a COVID Rapid Review and email us at to let us know your plans (please include title and ID of the question). We can then inform you whether the question is still available for a rapid review.

If you have a team in place and are ready to start work on a COVID Rapid Review not listed in the Bank, please email us at to let us know your plans. We aim to prevent duplication and keep track of efforts undertaken elsewhere.

If a question you consider to be a priority is not yet in the Question Bank, you can submit it here. Please ensure you have used the Search function to assess whether the question is not already covered in the list.