Collaborating on the COVID-NMA initiative – working on a living mapping and living systematic review in a team effort
Katrin Probyn, Cochrane Response
Gemma Villanueva, Cochrane Response, Development Directorate, Cochrane Central Executive Team
2Cochrane Response, London, UK
3Centre d’Epidémiologie Clinique, AP-HP, Hôpital Hôtel Dieu and Cochrane France, Paris, France
4Université Paris Cité and Université Sorbonne Paris Nord, Inserm, INRAE, Center for Research in Epidemiology and Statistics (CRESS) and Cochrane France, Paris, France
5Evidence Synthesis Ireland, Cochrane Ireland, and HRB Trials Methodology Research Network, National University of Ireland, Galway, Ireland
6Cochrane France, Paris, France
7Centre for Evidence-Based Medicine Odense, University of Southern Denmark, and Odense University Hospital, Odense, Denmark
8Institute for Evidence in Medicine, Medical Center, and Faculty of Medicine, University of Freiburg, and Cochrane Germany, Cochrane Germany Foundation, Freiburg, Germany
9Epistemonikos Foundation and UC Evidence Center, Cochrane Chile Associated Center, Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile, Santiago, Chile
10Université Paris Cité and Université Sorbonne Paris Nord, Inserm, INRAE, Center for Research in Epidemiology and Statistics (CRESS) and Centre d’Epidémiologie Clinique, AP-HP, Hôpital Hôtel Dieu, Paris, France
The COVID-19 pandemic declared by the World Health Organization (WHO) in March 2020 underlined the need for a comprehensive and continuously updated evidence ecosystem approach to synthesize the rapidly evolving body of evidence on interventions to treat and prevent COVID-19. To address this need, the COVID-NMA initiative was established by an international, interdisciplinary group of researchers.
Objectives: To describe the living mapping and living systematic review processes and the collaboration across the teams.
Methods: The steering committee of the COVID-NMA initiative developed the protocol and search strategies. A network of partners led by Cochrane France are since closely collaborating in the living review process. A live mapping of registered trials is conducted by weekly searching and screening of the COVID-19 database from the WHO’s International Clinical Trials Registry Platform and Epistemonikos’ Living OVerview of Evidence (COVID-19 L·OVE). Data extraction, risk of bias assessment, and grading of the evidence is done in a specifically developed online tool independently by two reviewers. An author contact form is used to gain missing information directly from trialists. Together with forest plots, summary-of-findings tables, the descriptive data, are made available online. A tool to automatically identify publication of preprints was developed. Robust quality control processes were also established to guarantee the accuracy and reliability of the synthesized evidence and monitor quality and completeness of reporting. The database is freely available to people who request it for legitimate research.
Results: To date, 4,591 studies of treatments have been collected. A total of 874 studies with complete data extraction and results have been included in our evidence synthesis. Of these 576 RCTs are on treatment, 17 RCTs on prevention, 186 RCTs on vaccines, and 95 observational studies on vaccines.
Conclusions: The COVID-NMA initiative offers a thorough and up-to-date synthesis of the evidence on interventions to treat and prevent COVID-19. The initiative’s approach to evidence synthesis through living mapping, living synthesis, and communication between primary research and evidence synthesis offers a valuable contribution to the evidence ecosystem approach. Patient, public, and/or healthcare consumer involvement: The living review is available to the public on the website www.covid-nma.com.