Collaborators from at least seven countries have compiled living evidence related to COVID-19 for use by clinicians, policymakers, researchers, guideline developers. Led by collaborators from Cochrane France, Cochrane Germany, Cochrane Ireland, Cochrane South Africa, the Cochrane Bias Methods Group and others, this project brings together the latest evidence related to COVID-19, presenting data on trials registered all over the world, as well as living evidence synthesis of results from these trials. The project provides one location for decision makers to access information on COVID trials and synthesized results that is frequently updated by independent researchers with expertise in evidence synthesis. The project includes two main parts: living mapping of ongoing research followed by living synthesis of study results as soon as they are available.
Living map of ongoing research
To provide a living map of ongoing research, the research team searches clinical trial registries and records data to compile registered study characteristics. This feeds into their data visualizations and mapping of registered studies developed in collaboration with research teams from the CNRS. These provide easy ways to see the status of COVID-19 studies based on country in which they are taking place, study design, disease severity in study participants, and type of treatment being studied, as well as network maps of these studies.
This is useful for researchers planning clinical trials, to easily see where there is a gap in evidence, or for research funders deciding where to dedicate resources for future clinical trials.
Living synthesis of study results
The living systematic reviews of COVID-19 study results completed by the project focuses on three areas: pharmacologic treatments, ICU supportive treatments, and preventive treatments. For each, as results are available, the team synthesizes these results, providing a list of treatment comparisons, a summary of the evidence for that comparison, and a detailed description of primary studies, including a risk of bias assessment.
Soon they hope to have a full Summary of Findings table available for each treatment comparison. Particularly useful for clinicians and healthcare decision-makers, the team’s goal is to update these living systematic review of study results twice per week. They will also share their database to allow researchers, decision makers, guideline developers perform their own analysis.
Isabelle Boutron and Philippe Ravaud, project leaders, say of the project: “We are proud of the interdisciplinary and international nature of this collaboration, which we believe provides an important source of high-quality synthesis of all COVID-19 evidence underway.”
Karla Soares-Weiser, Editor in Chief of the Cochrane Library, says, “We are impressed by the work that this project has produced so far. As the COVID-19 pandemic continues and global research on this disease increases daily, there is an ever-growing need for living evidence synthesis. We are pleased to be collaborating with this team, working together to continue responding to this crisis and planning our next steps for living evidence synthesis.”