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BMJ Open ; 11(10): e053124, 2021 10 27.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1495470


INTRODUCTION: Communicable disease epidemics and pandemics magnify the health inequities experienced by marginalised populations. People who use substances suffer from high rates of morbidity and mortality and should be a priority to receive palliative care, yet they encounter many barriers to palliative care access. Given the pre-existing inequities to palliative care access for people with life-limiting illnesses who use substances, it is important to understand the impact of communicable disease epidemics and pandemics such as COVID-19 on this population. METHODS AND ANALYSIS: We will conduct a scoping review and report according to the Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses extension for Scoping Reviews reporting guidelines. We conducted a comprehensive literature search in seven bibliographical databases from the inception of each database to August 2020. We also performed a grey literature search to identify the publications not indexed in the bibliographical databases. All the searches will be rerun in April 2021 to retrieve recently published information because the COVID-19 pandemic is ongoing at the time of this writing. We will extract the quantitative data using a standardised data extraction form and summarise it using descriptive statistics. Additionally, we will conduct thematic qualitative analyses and present our findings as narrative summaries. ETHICS AND DISSEMINATION: Ethics approval is not required for a scoping review. We will disseminate our findings to healthcare providers and policymakers through professional networks, digital communications through social media platforms, conference presentations and publication in a scientific journal.

COVID-19 , Communicable Diseases , Humans , Palliative Care , Pandemics , Research Design , Review Literature as Topic , SARS-CoV-2 , Systematic Reviews as Topic
BMJ Open ; 11(7): e047076, 2021 07 23.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1322821


OBJECTIVES: In response to the COVID-19 pandemic there have been significant developments in research, its conduct and the supporting ethical framework. While many protocols have been delayed, halted or modified, other research efforts have been accelerated, generating controversy. The goal of this paper is to determine the rates of references surrounding the ethical oversight of research as reported in current COVID-19-related research publications. DESIGN: Scoping review. SETTING: Population-based observational or interventional studies from December 2019 to May 2020 with sample size of two or more. Studies were searched through electronic databases including Medline, EMBASE, and Cochrane CENTRAL Register of Controlled Trials. PARTICIPANTS: Eligibility criteria included participants within published studies who tested positive for COVID-19. MAIN OUTCOMES AND MEASURES: Data were extracted and charting methods included taking note of references to ethical frameworks, institutional review board (IRB), ethics committee (EC) or research ethics board (REB) involvement, consent processes, and other variables. RESULTS: 11 556 articles were screened, with 656 included in the final analysis. References to ethics were present in 530 (80.8%) studies, with 491 (74.8%) involving IRB/ECs/REBs and 126 (19.2%) not referencing ethics. Consent processes were outlined in 201 (30.6%) studies, with 198 (30.2%) reporting that they obtained consent waivers, however, 257 (39.2%) did not mention consent at all. Differences (p<0.001) in ethics-related references were apparent when analysed by continent, publication type, sample size and IF. CONCLUSIONS: The majority of published articles pertaining to COVID-19 research made mention of ethical considerations, however, national and regional variations in research ethics review requirements introduce heterogeneity between studies and raise important questions about the conduct of scientific research during global public emergencies. TRIAL REGISTRATION NUMBER: Open Science Framework: https://osfio/z67wb.

COVID-19 , Ethics Committees, Research , Ethics, Research , Humans , Pandemics , SARS-CoV-2