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BMJ ; 370: m3379, 2020 09 04.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-2316359


UPDATES: This is the twelfth version (eleventh update) of the living guideline, replacing earlier versions (available as data supplements). New recommendations will be published as updates to this guideline. CLINICAL QUESTION: What is the role of drugs in the treatment of patients with covid-19? CONTEXT: The evidence base for therapeutics for covid-19 is evolving with numerous randomised controlled trials (RCTs) recently completed and under way. The emerging SARS-CoV-2 variants (such as omicron) and subvariants are also changing the role of therapeutics. This update provides updated recommendations for remdesivir, addresses the use of combination therapy with corticosteroids, interleukin-6 (IL-6) receptor blockers, and janus kinase (JAK) inhibitors in patients with severe or critical covid-19, and modifies previous recommendations for the neutralising monoclonal antibodies sotrovimab and casirivimab-imdevimab in patients with non-severe covid-19. NEW OR UPDATED RECOMMENDATIONS: • Remdesivir: a conditional recommendation for its use in patients with severe covid-19; and a conditional recommendation against its use in patients with critical covid-19. • Concomitant use of IL-6 receptor blockers (tocilizumab or sarilumab) and the JAK inhibitor baricitinib: these drugs may now be combined, in addition to corticosteroids, in patients with severe or critical covid-19. • Sotrovimab and casirivimab-imdevimab: strong recommendations against their use in patients with covid-19, replacing the previous conditional recommendations for their use. UNDERSTANDING THE NEW RECOMMENDATIONS: When moving from new evidence to updated recommendations, the Guideline Development Group (GDG) considered a combination of evidence assessing relative benefits and harms, values and preferences, and feasibility issues. For remdesivir, new trial data were added to a previous subgroup analysis and provided sufficiently trustworthy evidence to demonstrate benefits in patients with severe covid-19, but not critical covid-19. The GDG considered benefits of remdesivir to be modest and of moderate certainty for key outcomes such as mortality and mechanical ventilation, resulting in a conditional recommendation. For baricitinib, the GDG considered clinical trial evidence (RECOVERY) demonstrating reduced risk of death in patients already receiving corticosteroids and IL-6 receptor blockers. The GDG acknowledged that the clinical trials were not representative of the world population and that the risk-benefit balance may be less advantageous, particularly in patients who are immunosuppressed at higher risk of opportunistic infections (such as serious fungal, viral, or bacteria), those already deteriorating where less aggressive or stepwise addition of immunosuppressive medications may be preferred, and in areas where certain pathogens such as HIV or tuberculosis, are of concern. The panel anticipated that there would be situations where clinicians may opt for less aggressive immunosuppressive therapy or to combine medications in a stepwise fashion in patients who are deteriorating. The decision to combine the medications will depend on their availability, and the treating clinician's perception of the risk-benefit balance associated with combination immunosuppressive therapy, particularly in patient populations at risk of opportunistic infections who may have been under-represented in clinical trials. When making a strong recommendation against the use of monoclonal antibodies for patients with covid-19, the GDG considered in vitro neutralisation data demonstrating that sotrovimab and casirivimab-imdevimab evaluated in clinical trials have meaningfully reduced neutralisation activity of the currently circulating variants of SARS-CoV-2 and their subvariants. There was consensus among the panel that the absence of in vitro neutralisation activity strongly suggests absence of clinical effectiveness of these monoclonal antibodies. However, there was also consensus regarding the need for clinical trial evidence in order to confirm clinical efficacy of new monoclonal antibodies that reliably neutralise the circulating strains in vitro. Whether emerging new variants and subvariants might be susceptible to sotrovimab, casirivimab-imdevimab, or other anti-SARS-CoV-2 monoclonal antibodies cannot be predicted. PRIOR RECOMMENDATIONS: • Recommended for patients with severe or critical covid-19­strong recommendations for systemic corticosteroids; IL-6 receptor blockers (tocilizumab or sarilumab) in combination with corticosteroids; and baricitinib as an alternative to IL-6 receptor blockers, in combination with corticosteroids. • Recommended for patients with non-severe covid-19 at highest risk of hospitalisation­a strong recommendation for nirmatrelvir/ritonavir; conditional recommendations for molnupiravir and remdesivir. • Not recommended for patients with non-severe covid-19­a conditional recommendation against systemic corticosteroids; a strong recommendation against convalescent plasma; a recommendation against fluvoxamine, except in the context of a clinical trial; and a strong recommendation against colchicine. • Not recommended for patients with non-severe covid-19 at low risk of hospitalisation­a conditional recommendation against nirmatrelvir/ritonavir. • Not recommended for patients with severe or critical covid-19­a recommendation against convalescent plasma except in the context of a clinical trial; and a conditional recommendation against the JAK inhibitors ruxolitinib and tofacitinib. • Not recommended, regardless of covid-19 disease severity­a strong recommendations against hydroxychloroquine and against lopinavir/ritonavir; and a recommendation against ivermectin except in the context of a clinical trial. ABOUT THIS GUIDELINE: This living guideline from the World Health Organization (WHO) incorporates new evidence to dynamically update recommendations for covid-19 therapeutics. The GDG typically evaluates a therapy when the WHO judges sufficient evidence is available to make a recommendation. While the GDG takes an individual patient perspective in making recommendations, it also considers resource implications, acceptability, feasibility, equity, and human rights. This guideline was developed according to standards and methods for trustworthy guidelines, making use of an innovative process to achieve efficiency in dynamic updating of recommendations. The methods are aligned with the WHO Handbook for Guideline Development and according to a pre-approved protocol (planning proposal) by the Guideline Review Committee (GRC). A box at the end of the article outlines key methodological aspects of the guideline process. MAGIC Evidence Ecosystem Foundation provides methodological support, including the coordination of living systematic reviews with network meta-analyses to inform the recommendations. The full version of the guideline is available online in MAGICapp and in PDF, with a summary version here in The BMJ. These formats should facilitate adaptation, which is strongly encouraged by WHO to contextualise recommendations in a healthcare system to maximise impact. Future recommendations: Recommendations on anticoagulation are planned for the next update to this guideline.

Adrenal Cortex Hormones/therapeutic use , Betacoronavirus , Coronavirus Infections/drug therapy , Pneumonia, Viral/drug therapy , COVID-19 , Humans , Pandemics , SARS-CoV-2 , World Health Organization , COVID-19 Drug Treatment
Cochrane Database Syst Rev ; 12: CD015477, 2022 Dec 07.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-2261173


BACKGROUND: Different forms of vaccines have been developed to prevent the SARS-CoV-2 virus and subsequent COVID-19 disease. Several are in widespread use globally.  OBJECTIVES: To assess the efficacy and safety of COVID-19 vaccines (as a full primary vaccination series or a booster dose) against SARS-CoV-2. SEARCH METHODS: We searched the Cochrane COVID-19 Study Register and the COVID-19 L·OVE platform (last search date 5 November 2021). We also searched the WHO International Clinical Trials Registry Platform, regulatory agency websites, and Retraction Watch. SELECTION CRITERIA: We included randomized controlled trials (RCTs) comparing COVID-19 vaccines to placebo, no vaccine, other active vaccines, or other vaccine schedules. DATA COLLECTION AND ANALYSIS: We used standard Cochrane methods. We used GRADE to assess the certainty of evidence for all except immunogenicity outcomes.  We synthesized data for each vaccine separately and presented summary effect estimates with 95% confidence intervals (CIs).  MAIN RESULTS: We included and analyzed 41 RCTs assessing 12 different vaccines, including homologous and heterologous vaccine schedules and the effect of booster doses. Thirty-two RCTs were multicentre and five were multinational. The sample sizes of RCTs were 60 to 44,325 participants. Participants were aged: 18 years or older in 36 RCTs; 12 years or older in one RCT; 12 to 17 years in two RCTs; and three to 17 years in two RCTs. Twenty-nine RCTs provided results for individuals aged over 60 years, and three RCTs included immunocompromized patients. No trials included pregnant women. Sixteen RCTs had two-month follow-up or less, 20 RCTs had two to six months, and five RCTs had greater than six to 12 months or less. Eighteen reports were based on preplanned interim analyses. Overall risk of bias was low for all outcomes in eight RCTs, while 33 had concerns for at least one outcome. We identified 343 registered RCTs with results not yet available.  This abstract reports results for the critical outcomes of confirmed symptomatic COVID-19, severe and critical COVID-19, and serious adverse events only for the 10 WHO-approved vaccines. For remaining outcomes and vaccines, see main text. The evidence for mortality was generally sparse and of low or very low certainty for all WHO-approved vaccines, except AD26.COV2.S (Janssen), which probably reduces the risk of all-cause mortality (risk ratio (RR) 0.25, 95% CI 0.09 to 0.67; 1 RCT, 43,783 participants; high-certainty evidence). Confirmed symptomatic COVID-19 High-certainty evidence found that BNT162b2 (BioNtech/Fosun Pharma/Pfizer), mRNA-1273 (ModernaTx), ChAdOx1 (Oxford/AstraZeneca), Ad26.COV2.S, BBIBP-CorV (Sinopharm-Beijing), and BBV152 (Bharat Biotect) reduce the incidence of symptomatic COVID-19 compared to placebo (vaccine efficacy (VE): BNT162b2: 97.84%, 95% CI 44.25% to 99.92%; 2 RCTs, 44,077 participants; mRNA-1273: 93.20%, 95% CI 91.06% to 94.83%; 2 RCTs, 31,632 participants; ChAdOx1: 70.23%, 95% CI 62.10% to 76.62%; 2 RCTs, 43,390 participants; Ad26.COV2.S: 66.90%, 95% CI 59.10% to 73.40%; 1 RCT, 39,058 participants; BBIBP-CorV: 78.10%, 95% CI 64.80% to 86.30%; 1 RCT, 25,463 participants; BBV152: 77.80%, 95% CI 65.20% to 86.40%; 1 RCT, 16,973 participants). Moderate-certainty evidence found that NVX-CoV2373 (Novavax) probably reduces the incidence of symptomatic COVID-19 compared to placebo (VE 82.91%, 95% CI 50.49% to 94.10%; 3 RCTs, 42,175 participants). There is low-certainty evidence for CoronaVac (Sinovac) for this outcome (VE 69.81%, 95% CI 12.27% to 89.61%; 2 RCTs, 19,852 participants). Severe or critical COVID-19 High-certainty evidence found that BNT162b2, mRNA-1273, Ad26.COV2.S, and BBV152 result in a large reduction in incidence of severe or critical disease due to COVID-19 compared to placebo (VE: BNT162b2: 95.70%, 95% CI 73.90% to 99.90%; 1 RCT, 46,077 participants; mRNA-1273: 98.20%, 95% CI 92.80% to 99.60%; 1 RCT, 28,451 participants; AD26.COV2.S: 76.30%, 95% CI 57.90% to 87.50%; 1 RCT, 39,058 participants; BBV152: 93.40%, 95% CI 57.10% to 99.80%; 1 RCT, 16,976 participants). Moderate-certainty evidence found that NVX-CoV2373 probably reduces the incidence of severe or critical COVID-19 (VE 100.00%, 95% CI 86.99% to 100.00%; 1 RCT, 25,452 participants). Two trials reported high efficacy of CoronaVac for severe or critical disease with wide CIs, but these results could not be pooled. Serious adverse events (SAEs) mRNA-1273, ChAdOx1 (Oxford-AstraZeneca)/SII-ChAdOx1 (Serum Institute of India), Ad26.COV2.S, and BBV152 probably result in little or no difference in SAEs compared to placebo (RR: mRNA-1273: 0.92, 95% CI 0.78 to 1.08; 2 RCTs, 34,072 participants; ChAdOx1/SII-ChAdOx1: 0.88, 95% CI 0.72 to 1.07; 7 RCTs, 58,182 participants; Ad26.COV2.S: 0.92, 95% CI 0.69 to 1.22; 1 RCT, 43,783 participants); BBV152: 0.65, 95% CI 0.43 to 0.97; 1 RCT, 25,928 participants). In each of these, the likely absolute difference in effects was fewer than 5/1000 participants. Evidence for SAEs is uncertain for BNT162b2, CoronaVac, BBIBP-CorV, and NVX-CoV2373 compared to placebo (RR: BNT162b2: 1.30, 95% CI 0.55 to 3.07; 2 RCTs, 46,107 participants; CoronaVac: 0.97, 95% CI 0.62 to 1.51; 4 RCTs, 23,139 participants; BBIBP-CorV: 0.76, 95% CI 0.54 to 1.06; 1 RCT, 26,924 participants; NVX-CoV2373: 0.92, 95% CI 0.74 to 1.14; 4 RCTs, 38,802 participants). For the evaluation of heterologous schedules, booster doses, and efficacy against variants of concern, see main text of review. AUTHORS' CONCLUSIONS: Compared to placebo, most vaccines reduce, or likely reduce, the proportion of participants with confirmed symptomatic COVID-19, and for some, there is high-certainty evidence that they reduce severe or critical disease. There is probably little or no difference between most vaccines and placebo for serious adverse events. Over 300 registered RCTs are evaluating the efficacy of COVID-19 vaccines, and this review is updated regularly on the COVID-NMA platform ( Implications for practice Due to the trial exclusions, these results cannot be generalized to pregnant women, individuals with a history of SARS-CoV-2 infection, or immunocompromized people. Most trials had a short follow-up and were conducted before the emergence of variants of concern. Implications for research Future research should evaluate the long-term effect of vaccines, compare different vaccines and vaccine schedules, assess vaccine efficacy and safety in specific populations, and include outcomes such as preventing long COVID-19. Ongoing evaluation of vaccine efficacy and effectiveness against emerging variants of concern is also vital.

J Clin Epidemiol ; 141: 161-171, 2022 01.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1433469


OBJECTIVE: To propose a taxonomy and framework that identifies and presents actionable statements in guidelines. STUDY DESIGN AND SETTING: We took an iterative approach reviewing case studies of guidelines produced by the World Health Organization and the American Society of Hematology to develop an initial conceptual framework. We then tested it using randomly selected recommendations from published guidelines addressing COVID-19 from different organizations, evaluated its results, and refined it before retesting. The urgency and availability of evidence for development of these recommendations varied. We consulted with experts in research methodology and guideline developers to improve the final framework. RESULTS: The resulting taxonomy and framework distinguishes five types of actional statements: formal recommendations; research recommendations; good practice statements; implementation considerations, tools and tips; and informal recommendations. These statements should respond to a priori established criteria and require a clear structure and recognizable presentation in a guideline. Most importantly, this framework identifies informal recommendations that differ from formal recommendations by how they consider evidence and in their development process. CONCLUSION: The identification, standardization and explicit labelling of actionable statements according to the framework may support guideline developers to create actionable statements with clear intent, avoid informal recommendations and improve their understanding and implementation by users.

COVID-19 , COVID-19/epidemiology , Humans , Publications , Research Design , World Health Organization
Nature ; 595(7866): 172, 2021 07.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1303752

COVID-19 , Humans , SARS-CoV-2
Lancet ; 398(10295): 117-118, 2021 07 10.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1301082
BMJ ; 372: n526, 2021 03 01.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1112324


CLINICAL QUESTION: What is the role of drugs in preventing covid-19? WHY DOES THIS MATTER?: There is widespread interest in whether drug interventions can be used for the prevention of covid-19, but there is uncertainty about which drugs, if any, are effective. The first version of this living guideline focuses on the evidence for hydroxychloroquine. Subsequent updates will cover other drugs being investigated for their role in the prevention of covid-19. RECOMMENDATION: The guideline development panel made a strong recommendation against the use of hydroxychloroquine for individuals who do not have covid-19 (high certainty). HOW THIS GUIDELINE WAS CREATED: This living guideline is from the World Health Organization (WHO) and provides up to date covid-19 guidance to inform policy and practice worldwide. Magic Evidence Ecosystem Foundation (MAGIC) provided methodological support. A living systematic review with network analysis informed the recommendations. An international guideline development panel of content experts, clinicians, patients, an ethicist and methodologists produced recommendations following standards for trustworthy guideline development using the Grading of Recommendations Assessment, Development and Evaluation (GRADE) approach. UNDERSTANDING THE NEW RECOMMENDATION: The linked systematic review and network meta-analysis (6 trials and 6059 participants) found that hydroxychloroquine had a small or no effect on mortality and admission to hospital (high certainty evidence). There was a small or no effect on laboratory confirmed SARS-CoV-2 infection (moderate certainty evidence) but probably increased adverse events leading to discontinuation (moderate certainty evidence). The panel judged that almost all people would not consider this drug worthwhile. In addition, the panel decided that contextual factors such as resources, feasibility, acceptability, and equity for countries and healthcare systems were unlikely to alter the recommendation. The panel considers that this drug is no longer a research priority and that resources should rather be oriented to evaluate other more promising drugs to prevent covid-19. UPDATES: This is a living guideline. New recommendations will be published in this article and signposted by update notices to this guideline. READERS NOTE: This is the first version of the living guideline for drugs to prevent covid-19. It complements the WHO living guideline on drugs to treat covid-19. When citing this article, please consider adding the update number and date of access for clarity.

COVID-19/prevention & control , Chemoprevention , Hydroxychloroquine/pharmacology , Risk Assessment , COVID-19/epidemiology , Chemoprevention/methods , Chemoprevention/standards , Clinical Decision-Making/methods , Humans , Immunologic Factors/pharmacology , SARS-CoV-2/drug effects , Uncertainty , World Health Organization