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1.
EuropePMC; 2022.
Preprint in English | EuropePMC | ID: ppcovidwho-330872

ABSTRACT

Importance There is concern that post-acute SARS-CoV-2 infection health outcomes (“post-COVID syndrome”) in children could be a serious problem but at the same time there is concern about the validity of reported associations between infection and long-term outcomes. Objective To systematically assess the validity of reported post-acute SARS-CoV-2 infection health outcomes in children. Evidence Review A search on PubMed and Web of Science was conducted to identify studies published up to January 22, 2022, that reported on post-acute SARS-CoV-2 infection health outcomes in children (<18 years) with follow-up of ≥2 months since detection of infection or ≥1 month since recovery from acute illness. We assessed the consideration of confounding bias and causality, and the risk of bias. Findings 21 studies including 81,896 children reported up to 97 symptoms with follow-up periods of 2-11.5 months. Fifteen studies had no control group. The reported proportion of children with post-COVID syndrome was between 0% and 66.5% in children with SARS-CoV-2 infection (n=16,986) and 2% to 53.3% in children without SARS-CoV-2 infection (n=64,910). Only 2 studies made a clear causal interpretation of an association of SARS-CoV-2 infection and the main outcome of “post-COVID syndrome” and provided recommendations regarding prevention measures. Two studies mentioned potential limitations in the conclusion of the main text but none of the 21 studies mentioned any limitations in the nor made a clear statement for cautious interpretation. The validity of all 21 studies was seriously limited due to an overall critical risk of bias (critical risk for confounding bias [n=21];serious or critical risk for selection bias [n=19];serious risk for misclassification bias [n=3], for bias due to missing data [n=14] and for outcome measurement [n=12];and critical risk for selective reporting bias [n=16]). Conclusions and Relevance The validity of reported post-acute SARS-CoV-2 infection health outcomes in children is critically limited. None of the studies provided evidence with reasonable certainty on whether SARS-CoV-2 infection has an impact on post-acute health outcomes, let alone to what extent. Children and their families urgently need much more reliable and methodologically robust evidence to address their concerns and improve care. KEY POINTS Question How valid are the reported results on health outcomes in children after acute SARS-CoV-2 infection? Findings We identified 21 studies with only 6 using a controlled design. Reported post-acute health-outcomes were numerous and heterogeneous. The reported proportion of children with post-COVID syndrome was up to 66.5% in children with and 53.3% in children without SARS-CoV-2 infection. All studies had seriously limited validity due to critical and serious risk of bias in multiple domains. Meaning The validity of reported post-acute SARS-CoV-2 infection health outcomes in children is critically limited and methodological robust evidence is urgently needed.

2.
EuropePMC; 2021.
Preprint in English | EuropePMC | ID: ppcovidwho-313224

ABSTRACT

The COVID-19 crisis led to a flurry of clinical trials activity. The COVID-Evidence database shows 2,814 COVID-19 randomized trials registered as of February 16, 2021. Most were small (only 18% have a planned sample size >500) and the rare completed ones have not provided published results promptly (only 283 trial publications as of 2/2021). Small randomized trials and observational, non-randomized analyses have not had a successful track record and have generated misleading expectations. Different large trials on the same intervention have generally been far more efficient in producing timely and consistent evidence. The rapid generation of evidence and accelerated dissemination of results have led to new challenges for systematic reviews and meta-analyses (e.g. rapid, living, and scoping reviews). Pressure to regulatory agencies has also mounted with massive emergency authorizations, but some of them have had to be revoked. Pandemic circumstances have disrupted the way trials are conducted;therefore, new methods have been developed and adopted more widely to facilitate recruitment, consent, and overall trial conduct. Based on the COVID-19 experience and its challenges, planning of several large, efficient trials, and wider use of adaptive designs may change the future of clinical research. Pragmatism, integration in clinical care, efficient administration, promotion of collaborative structures, and enhanced integration of existing data and facilities may be several of the legacies of COVID-19 on future randomized trials.

3.
EuropePMC; 2021.
Preprint in English | EuropePMC | ID: ppcovidwho-312396

ABSTRACT

Background: In 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic led to an unprecedented volume of almost 3,000 clinical trials registered worldwide. We aimed to describe the COVID-19 clinical trial research agenda in Germany during the first year of the pandemic. Methods: We identified randomized clinical trials assessing interventions to treat or prevent COVID-19 that were registered in 2020 and recruited or planned to recruit participants in Germany. We requested recruitment information from trial investigators as of April 2021. Results: In 2020, 65 trials were completely (n=27) or partially (n=38) conducted in Germany. Most trials investigated interventions to treat COVID-19 (86.2%;56/65), in hospitalized patients (67.7%;44/65), with industry funding (53.8%;35/65). Few trials were completed (21.5%;14/65). Overall, 187,179 participants were planned to be recruited (20,696 in Germany), with a median number of 106 German participants per trial (IQR 40 to 345).  From the planned German participants, 13.4%  were recruited (median 15 per trial (IQR 0 to 44). Conclusions: The overall German contribution to the worldwide COVID-19 clinical trial research agenda was modest. Few trials delivered urgently needed evidence. Most trials did not meet recruitment goals. Evaluation and international comparison of the challenges for conducting clinical trials in Germany is needed.

4.
BMJ Evid Based Med ; 2022 Jan 27.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1673422

ABSTRACT

OBJECTIVE: We aimed at providing a systematic overview of randomised trials assessing non-pharmaceutical interventions (NPIs) to prevent COVID-19. DESIGN: Scoping review. METHODS: We included all randomised trials assessing NPIs to prevent COVID-19 in any country and setting registered in ClinicalTrials.gov and the WHO International Clinical Trials Registry Platform using the COVID-evidence platform (until 17 August 2021). We searched for corresponding publications in MEDLINE/PubMed, Google Scholar, the Living Overview of Evidence platform, and the Cochrane COVID-19 registry as well as for results posted in registries (until 14 November 2021). Descriptive statistics using numbers and percentages were used in the narrative synthesis of the results. RESULTS: We identified 41 randomised trials. Of them, 12 were completed (29.3%) including 9 with published results. The 41 trials planned to recruit a median of 1700 participants (IQR 588-9500, range 30-35 256 399) with a median planned duration of 8 months (IQR 3-14, range 1-24). Most came from the USA (n=11, 26.8%). The trials mostly assessed protective equipment (n=11, 26.8%), COVID-19-related information and education programmes (n=9, 22.0%), access to mass events under specific safety measures (n=5, 12.2%), testing and screening strategies (n=5, 12.2%) and hygiene management (n=5, 12.2%). CONCLUSIONS: Worldwide, 41 randomised trials assessing NPIs have been initiated with published results available to inform policy decisions for only 9 of them. A long-term research agenda including behavioural, environmental, social and systems level interventions is urgently needed to guide policies and practices in the current and future public health emergencies.

5.
BMC Infect Dis ; 21(1): 1170, 2021 Nov 20.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1526605

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: Convalescent plasma has been widely used to treat COVID-19 and is under investigation in numerous randomized clinical trials, but results are publicly available only for a small number of trials. The objective of this study was to assess the benefits of convalescent plasma treatment compared to placebo or no treatment and all-cause mortality in patients with COVID-19, using data from all available randomized clinical trials, including unpublished and ongoing trials (Open Science Framework, https://doi.org/10.17605/OSF.IO/GEHFX ). METHODS: In this collaborative systematic review and meta-analysis, clinical trial registries (ClinicalTrials.gov, WHO International Clinical Trials Registry Platform), the Cochrane COVID-19 register, the LOVE database, and PubMed were searched until April 8, 2021. Investigators of trials registered by March 1, 2021, without published results were contacted via email. Eligible were ongoing, discontinued and completed randomized clinical trials that compared convalescent plasma with placebo or no treatment in COVID-19 patients, regardless of setting or treatment schedule. Aggregated mortality data were extracted from publications or provided by investigators of unpublished trials and combined using the Hartung-Knapp-Sidik-Jonkman random effects model. We investigated the contribution of unpublished trials to the overall evidence. RESULTS: A total of 16,477 patients were included in 33 trials (20 unpublished with 3190 patients, 13 published with 13,287 patients). 32 trials enrolled only hospitalized patients (including 3 with only intensive care unit patients). Risk of bias was low for 29/33 trials. Of 8495 patients who received convalescent plasma, 1997 died (23%), and of 7982 control patients, 1952 died (24%). The combined risk ratio for all-cause mortality was 0.97 (95% confidence interval: 0.92; 1.02) with between-study heterogeneity not beyond chance (I2 = 0%). The RECOVERY trial had 69.8% and the unpublished evidence 25.3% of the weight in the meta-analysis. CONCLUSIONS: Convalescent plasma treatment of patients with COVID-19 did not reduce all-cause mortality. These results provide strong evidence that convalescent plasma treatment for patients with COVID-19 should not be used outside of randomized trials. Evidence synthesis from collaborations among trial investigators can inform both evidence generation and evidence application in patient care.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , COVID-19/therapy , Humans , Immunization, Passive , Randomized Controlled Trials as Topic , SARS-CoV-2 , Treatment Outcome
7.
Can J Cardiol ; 37(9): 1353-1364, 2021 09.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1252583

ABSTRACT

The COVID-19 crisis led to a flurry of clinical trials activity. The COVID-evidence database shows 2814 COVID-19 randomized trials registered as of February 16, 2021. Most were small (only 18% have a planned sample size > 500) and the rare completed ones have not provided published results promptly (only 283 trial publications as of February 2021). Small randomized trials and observational, nonrandomized analyses have not had a successful track record and have generated misleading expectations. Different large trials on the same intervention have generally been far more efficient in producing timely and consistent evidence. The rapid generation of evidence and accelerated dissemination of results have led to new challenges for systematic reviews and meta-analyses (eg, rapid, living, and scoping reviews). Pressure to regulatory agencies has also mounted with massive emergency authorizations, but some of them have had to be revoked. Pandemic circumstances have disrupted the way trials are conducted; therefore, new methods have been developed and adopted more widely to facilitate recruitment, consent, and overall trial conduct. On the basis of the COVID-19 experience and its challenges, planning of several large, efficient trials, and wider use of adaptive designs might change the future of clinical research. Pragmatism, integration in clinical care, efficient administration, promotion of collaborative structures, and enhanced integration of existing data and facilities might be several of the legacies of COVID-19 on future randomized trials.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Pandemics , Randomized Controlled Trials as Topic , COVID-19/therapy , Clinical Trials as Topic/methods , Clinical Trials as Topic/standards , Clinical Trials as Topic/statistics & numerical data , Drug Repositioning , Humans , Randomized Controlled Trials as Topic/methods , Randomized Controlled Trials as Topic/standards , Randomized Controlled Trials as Topic/statistics & numerical data , Research Design/standards , SARS-CoV-2
8.
Nat Commun ; 12(1): 2349, 2021 04 15.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1189222

ABSTRACT

Substantial COVID-19 research investment has been allocated to randomized clinical trials (RCTs) on hydroxychloroquine/chloroquine, which currently face recruitment challenges or early discontinuation. We aim to estimate the effects of hydroxychloroquine and chloroquine on survival in COVID-19 from all currently available RCT evidence, published and unpublished. We present a rapid meta-analysis of ongoing, completed, or discontinued RCTs on hydroxychloroquine or chloroquine treatment for any COVID-19 patients (protocol: https://osf.io/QESV4/ ). We systematically identified unpublished RCTs (ClinicalTrials.gov, WHO International Clinical Trials Registry Platform, Cochrane COVID-registry up to June 11, 2020), and published RCTs (PubMed, medRxiv and bioRxiv up to October 16, 2020). All-cause mortality has been extracted (publications/preprints) or requested from investigators and combined in random-effects meta-analyses, calculating odds ratios (ORs) with 95% confidence intervals (CIs), separately for hydroxychloroquine and chloroquine. Prespecified subgroup analyses include patient setting, diagnostic confirmation, control type, and publication status. Sixty-three trials were potentially eligible. We included 14 unpublished trials (1308 patients) and 14 publications/preprints (9011 patients). Results for hydroxychloroquine are dominated by RECOVERY and WHO SOLIDARITY, two highly pragmatic trials, which employed relatively high doses and included 4716 and 1853 patients, respectively (67% of the total sample size). The combined OR on all-cause mortality for hydroxychloroquine is 1.11 (95% CI: 1.02, 1.20; I² = 0%; 26 trials; 10,012 patients) and for chloroquine 1.77 (95%CI: 0.15, 21.13, I² = 0%; 4 trials; 307 patients). We identified no subgroup effects. We found that treatment with hydroxychloroquine is associated with increased mortality in COVID-19 patients, and there is no benefit of chloroquine. Findings have unclear generalizability to outpatients, children, pregnant women, and people with comorbidities.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/drug therapy , COVID-19/mortality , Chloroquine/adverse effects , Hydroxychloroquine/adverse effects , Pregnancy Complications, Infectious/mortality , Adult , COVID-19/complications , COVID-19/virology , Child , Chloroquine/administration & dosage , Combined Modality Therapy/adverse effects , Combined Modality Therapy/methods , Comorbidity , Female , Humans , Hydroxychloroquine/administration & dosage , International Cooperation , Odds Ratio , Patient Participation/statistics & numerical data , Pregnancy , Pregnancy Complications, Infectious/drug therapy , Pregnancy Complications, Infectious/virology , Randomized Controlled Trials as Topic/statistics & numerical data , SARS-CoV-2
9.
JAMA ; 325(12): 1185-1195, 2021 03 23.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1178926

ABSTRACT

Importance: Convalescent plasma is a proposed treatment for COVID-19. Objective: To assess clinical outcomes with convalescent plasma treatment vs placebo or standard of care in peer-reviewed and preprint publications or press releases of randomized clinical trials (RCTs). Data Sources: PubMed, the Cochrane COVID-19 trial registry, and the Living Overview of Evidence platform were searched until January 29, 2021. Study Selection: The RCTs selected compared any type of convalescent plasma vs placebo or standard of care for patients with confirmed or suspected COVID-19 in any treatment setting. Data Extraction and Synthesis: Two reviewers independently extracted data on relevant clinical outcomes, trial characteristics, and patient characteristics and used the Cochrane Risk of Bias Assessment Tool. The primary analysis included peer-reviewed publications of RCTs only, whereas the secondary analysis included all publicly available RCT data (peer-reviewed publications, preprints, and press releases). Inverse variance-weighted meta-analyses were conducted to summarize the treatment effects. The certainty of the evidence was assessed using the Grading of Recommendations Assessment, Development, and Evaluation. Main Outcomes and Measures: All-cause mortality, length of hospital stay, clinical improvement, clinical deterioration, mechanical ventilation use, and serious adverse events. Results: A total of 1060 patients from 4 peer-reviewed RCTs and 10 722 patients from 6 other publicly available RCTs were included. The summary risk ratio (RR) for all-cause mortality with convalescent plasma in the 4 peer-reviewed RCTs was 0.93 (95% CI, 0.63 to 1.38), the absolute risk difference was -1.21% (95% CI, -5.29% to 2.88%), and there was low certainty of the evidence due to imprecision. Across all 10 RCTs, the summary RR was 1.02 (95% CI, 0.92 to 1.12) and there was moderate certainty of the evidence due to inclusion of unpublished data. Among the peer-reviewed RCTs, the summary hazard ratio was 1.17 (95% CI, 0.07 to 20.34) for length of hospital stay, the summary RR was 0.76 (95% CI, 0.20 to 2.87) for mechanical ventilation use (the absolute risk difference for mechanical ventilation use was -2.56% [95% CI, -13.16% to 8.05%]), and there was low certainty of the evidence due to imprecision for both outcomes. Limited data on clinical improvement, clinical deterioration, and serious adverse events showed no significant differences. Conclusions and Relevance: Treatment with convalescent plasma compared with placebo or standard of care was not significantly associated with a decrease in all-cause mortality or with any benefit for other clinical outcomes. The certainty of the evidence was low to moderate for all-cause mortality and low for other outcomes.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/therapy , Adult , Bias , COVID-19/mortality , Cause of Death , Female , Humans , Immunization, Passive/adverse effects , Length of Stay , Male , Placebos/therapeutic use , Randomized Controlled Trials as Topic , Respiration, Artificial , Standard of Care , Treatment Outcome
11.
JAMA ; 325(12): 1185-1195, 2021 03 23.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1103251

ABSTRACT

Importance: Convalescent plasma is a proposed treatment for COVID-19. Objective: To assess clinical outcomes with convalescent plasma treatment vs placebo or standard of care in peer-reviewed and preprint publications or press releases of randomized clinical trials (RCTs). Data Sources: PubMed, the Cochrane COVID-19 trial registry, and the Living Overview of Evidence platform were searched until January 29, 2021. Study Selection: The RCTs selected compared any type of convalescent plasma vs placebo or standard of care for patients with confirmed or suspected COVID-19 in any treatment setting. Data Extraction and Synthesis: Two reviewers independently extracted data on relevant clinical outcomes, trial characteristics, and patient characteristics and used the Cochrane Risk of Bias Assessment Tool. The primary analysis included peer-reviewed publications of RCTs only, whereas the secondary analysis included all publicly available RCT data (peer-reviewed publications, preprints, and press releases). Inverse variance-weighted meta-analyses were conducted to summarize the treatment effects. The certainty of the evidence was assessed using the Grading of Recommendations Assessment, Development, and Evaluation. Main Outcomes and Measures: All-cause mortality, length of hospital stay, clinical improvement, clinical deterioration, mechanical ventilation use, and serious adverse events. Results: A total of 1060 patients from 4 peer-reviewed RCTs and 10 722 patients from 6 other publicly available RCTs were included. The summary risk ratio (RR) for all-cause mortality with convalescent plasma in the 4 peer-reviewed RCTs was 0.93 (95% CI, 0.63 to 1.38), the absolute risk difference was -1.21% (95% CI, -5.29% to 2.88%), and there was low certainty of the evidence due to imprecision. Across all 10 RCTs, the summary RR was 1.02 (95% CI, 0.92 to 1.12) and there was moderate certainty of the evidence due to inclusion of unpublished data. Among the peer-reviewed RCTs, the summary hazard ratio was 1.17 (95% CI, 0.07 to 20.34) for length of hospital stay, the summary RR was 0.76 (95% CI, 0.20 to 2.87) for mechanical ventilation use (the absolute risk difference for mechanical ventilation use was -2.56% [95% CI, -13.16% to 8.05%]), and there was low certainty of the evidence due to imprecision for both outcomes. Limited data on clinical improvement, clinical deterioration, and serious adverse events showed no significant differences. Conclusions and Relevance: Treatment with convalescent plasma compared with placebo or standard of care was not significantly associated with a decrease in all-cause mortality or with any benefit for other clinical outcomes. The certainty of the evidence was low to moderate for all-cause mortality and low for other outcomes.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/therapy , Adult , Bias , COVID-19/mortality , Cause of Death , Female , Humans , Immunization, Passive/adverse effects , Length of Stay , Male , Placebos/therapeutic use , Randomized Controlled Trials as Topic , Respiration, Artificial , Standard of Care , Treatment Outcome
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