COVID-19 Evidence Synthesis

The SPOR Evidence Alliance is committed to promoting evidence-informed health policy, practice and service by providing context-sensitive and demand-driven up-to-date scientific evidence to decision-makers. This page showcases knowledge synthesis work being conducted by the Alliance researchers in response to decision-maker needs.

If you  are seeking synthesized evidence to inform decision(s) related to health policy, practice and/or service for COVID-19, please tell us about your research needs by completing the query intake form found here.

We will be making ongoing updates and additions to this page. Stay tuned.

 


Mitigating the Socioeconomic Impact of Women’s, Children’s and Adolescent’s Health during Pandemics and Epidemics In progress

Funded by: Canadian Institutes of Health Research and World Health Organization
Knowledge user: World Health Organization
Led by: Dr. Fiona Clement, The Health Technology Assessment Unit, University of Calgary

 

What is the study question?
The objective of this research is to synthesize the available evidence on effective socioeconomic approaches and interventions to mitigate the consequences of COVID-19 and previous pandemics and epidemics on women, children and adolescents. The specific policy question is as follows:

What are effective interventions and strategies for health systems preparedness, response and recovery, to improve the health and well-being of women, children and adolescents during pandemics and epidemics, including by not limited to interventions in humanitarian and fragile settings?

What is already known?
Coming soon.
What this study adds?
Coming soon.

 


Effective Models of Provider Care in Long-Term Care Homes: A Rapid Scoping Review In progress

Funded by: Canadian Institutes of Health Research and Royal Society of Canada
Knowledge user: Royal Society of Canada
Led by: Dr. Brian Hutton, Ottawa Hospital Research Institute

 

What is the study question?
What care provider models and interventions in LTC homes have been evaluated to improve quality of life, quality of care, and health outcomes of residents? Specifically, the following are explored:

  1. What type/level of medical care should be provided and by whom? [e.g., by the primary care physician (PCP) (either the residents’ own PCP, or one PCP assigned in the LTC facility for all); should it involve a nurse practitioner (NP) or a physician’s assistant (PA)?]
  2. What type/level of direct patient care should be provided and by whom? [e.g., by regulated nurses (registered or licensed practical nurses)?]
  3. What type/level of allied health care team support should be involved/available?

What is already known?
Coming soon.
What this study adds?
Coming soon.

 


Digital Health Interventions for the Prevention, Detection and Management of Mental Health Problems in People with Chronic Diseases Completed

Funded by: Canadian Institutes of Health Research
Knowledge user: Cliniques Médicales ProActive
Led by: Dr. Marie-Pierre Gagnon and Dr. Annie LeBlanc, Centre de recherche sur les soins et les services de première ligne de l’Université Laval (CERSSPL-UL)

 

What is the study question?
1. Are digital health interventions effective to prevent, detect and manage mental health problems in individuals with a pre-existing chronic disease?
2. What are the characteristics of effective interventions to prevent, detect, and manage mental health problems in individuals with chronic diseases, and their relevance in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic?
What is already known?
People with chronic diseases are more at risk of suffering from a concomitant mental health problem. Digital health interventions are effective for the prevention, detection and management of common mental health problems.
What this study adds?
This review will provide timely support to the provision of digital health interventions to prevent, detect and manage mental health problems in individuals with a pre-existing chronic disease.

 


Testing for Asymptomatic COVID-19: A Rapid Systematic Review and Jurisdictional/Healthcare Organizational Scan Completed

Funded by: Canadian Institutes of Health Research
Knowledge user:
Ontario Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care
Led by: Dr. Ahmed M. Abou-Setta, George & Fay Yee Centre for Healthcare Innovation, University of Manitoba

 

What is the study question?
1. What are the benefits and harms for testing asymptomatic individuals for COVID-19 in healthcare and non-healthcare settings (e.g. universities, colleges, retail, office settings)?
2. What are the current policies for testing asymptomatic individuals for COVID-19 in Canada and internationally?
What is already known?
Evidence on incubation period of SARS-CoV-2 has so far been conflicting. Some individuals may not have symptoms for days or even weeks following infections (pre-symptomatic), while others may have mild respiratory symptoms, atypical symptoms (e.g. gastrointestinal symptoms), or remain asymptomatic. It remains unclear if the benefits of testing asymptomatic individuals outweighs the potential harms to individuals (e.g. anxiety of false diagnosis), organizations (e.g. procedural changes) or society (e.g. added cost of mass testing).
What this study adds?
This report provides an overview of benefits and harms of testing asymptomatic individuals, as well as a scan of current testing policies in Canada and abroad.

 


Rapid and Point-of-Care Diagnostic Test for SARS-COV-2 (COVID-19): A Rapid Summary Completed

Funded by: Canadian Institutes of Health Research
Knowledge user:
Ontario Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care
Led by: Dr. Shannon E. Kelly and Dr. George A. Wells, Cardiovascular Research Methods Centre, University of Ottawa Heart Institute

 

What is the study question?

  1. What point-of-care diagnostic tests for SARS-COV-2 (COVID-19) are available in Canada?
  2. How accurate are the point-of-care diagnostic tests authorized in Canada at identifying individuals with SARS-COV-2 (COVID-19)?
  3. What recommendations and guidelines are there for the use of point-of-care diagnostic tests to identify individuals with SARS-COV-2 (COVID-19)?
  4. What are the key benefits and limitations of the point-of-care diagnostic tests for SARS-COV-2 (COVID-19) authorized in Canada?

What is already known?
The World Health Organization (WHO) has stated that “diagnostic testing for COVID-19 is critical to tracking the virus, understanding epidemiology, informing case management, and to suppressing transmission” and this has been supported by governments and public health authorities at all levels in Canada. According to Health Canada, nucleic acid-based testing is the reference standard (or ‘best practice’). However, this form of testing is resource intensive, therefore,  point-of-care molecular diagnostic tests have been lauded as a potential solution.
What this study adds?
The objective of this report is to provide a summary of the molecular point-of-care diagnostic tests authorized for use in Canada, the characteristics of tests available, the evidence of diagnostic test accuracy, as well as guidelines available on diagnosis of patients with suspected COVID-19.

 


Risk of Acquiring COVID-19 Associated with Singing in a Choir: A Quick Response Report Completed

Commissioned by: Ontario Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care
Led by: Dr. Stephen Bornstein, Newfoundland and Labrador Centre for Applied Health Research, Memorial University of Newfoundland

 

What is the study question?
What is the risk of acquiring COVID-19 associated with singing in a choir?
What is already known?
Evidence suggests that the COVID-19 virus is spread through both droplet transmission and airborne transmission via aerosols. Aerosol transmission occurs through both normal speech and singing, in addition to the more commonly understood routes of sneezing, coughing, etc. Singing involves greater risk that normal speech, and singing loudly involves greater risk than singing softly.
What this study adds?
This quick report provides a snapshot of available evidence and guidelines on in-person choir singing and associated risk of acquiring COVID-19.

 


Preventing the Transmission of Coronavirus (COVID-19) in Older Adults Aged 60 Years and Above Living in Long-Term Care: A Rapid Review Completed

Funded by: Canadian Frailty Network
Knowledge user:
Canadian Frailty Network
Led by: Dr. Andrea Tricco, Knowledge Translation Program, Li Ka Shing Knowledge Institute, St. Michael’s Hospital, Unity Health Toronto

 

What is the study question?
What are the infection prevention and control practices, including employment and remuneration policies, for preventing or reducing the transmission of COVID-19, Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS), and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) in older adults aged 65 years and above, with or without frailty or other comorbid conditions, living in long-term care?
What is already known?
There is a substantial body of evidence and many existing guidelines related to prevention and control of viral respiratory infections; however, there is very little guidance specific to the circumstances of the COVID-19 global pandemic and no existing synthesis on the subject.
What this study adds?
This review provides a comprehensive review of current evidence and guidelines for infection prevention and control measures specific to COVID-19 populations.

 


COVID-19 in Children with Brain-Based Developmental Disabilities: A Rapid Review Completed

Funded by: Canadian Institutes of Health Research and CHILD-BRIGHT Network
Knowledge user:
CHILD-BRIGHT Network
Led by: Dr. Annie LeBlanc, Centre de recherche sur les soins et les services de première ligne de l’Université Laval (CERSSPL-UL)

 

What is the study question?
Are children with brain-based developmental disabilities more likely to develop COVID-19, and have complications or poorer outcomes following infection?
What is already known?
The prevalence of symptomatic COVID-19 in children remains low to date. Of the 23,082 cumulative COVID-19 cases reported in Canada as of April 23rd, 2020,  1,055 (4.6%) were in patients aged 19 years old and under. However, children with neurological and neuromuscular conditions are vulnerable to the respiratory complications of other viral infections.
What this study adds?
This rapid review highlights that there is limited evidence on the impact of COVID-19 in children with brain-based developmental disabilities, as well as those at risk of developing such disabilities. More data, including the presence of brain-based disabilities and other at-risk conditions in children, are required to have a better understanding of the clinical impacts of COVID-19 on these potentially more vulnerable populations.

 


Transmission of Acute Respiratory Infections During Aerosol Generating Medical Procedures: Update of 2011 CADTH Systematic Review Completed

Funded by: Canadian Institutes of Health Research
Knowledge user:
Alberta Health Services
Led by: Dr. Fiona Clement, The Health Technology Assessment Unit, University of Calgary

 

What is the study question?
What is the risk of transmission of acute respiratory infections to health care workers caring for patients undergoing aerosol-generating clinical procedures?
What is already known?
In 2011, the Canadian Agency for Drugs and Technologies in Health (CADTH) completed a systematic review on aerosol-generating procedures and associated risk of transmission of acute respiratory infections. There have been no known recent systematic reviews conducted on this topic since 2011.
What this study adds?
This review provides and overview of the 2011 CADTH report, and presents synthesis of updated findings. The updated review identified two new studies, and both concluded that performance of aerosol generating procedures increased the risk of transmission to health care workers. However, results should be interpreted in the context that all the procedures were grouped together, hence precise risks of individual procedures could not be determined.

 


Guidelines for Preventing Respiratory Illness in Older Adults Aged 60 Years and Above Living in Long-Term Care: A Rapid Review of Clinical Practice Guidelines Completed

Funded by: World Health Organization
Knowledge user:
Infection Prevention & Control, Health Emergencies Programme, World Health Organization
Led by: Dr. Andrea Tricco, Knowledge Translation Program, Li Ka Shing Knowledge Institute, St. Michael’s Hospital, Unity Health Toronto

 

What is the study question?
What are the existing protection and control recommendations for viral respiratory infections from published clinical practice guidelines (CPGs) for adults aged 60 years and older in long-term care settings?
What is already known?
Numerous government agencies have published CPGs for infection prevention and control for their respective jurisdictions; however, there are no universal recommendations that long-term care facilities can turn to for guidance.
What this study adds?
This review provides a comprehensive overview of existing CPGs for long-term care facilities published across the globe and summarizes their recommendations for infection prevention and management.

 


Preventing Respiratory Illness in Older Adults Aged 60 Years and Above Living in Long-Term Care: A Rapid Overview of Reviews Completed

Funded by: World Health Organization
Knowledge user:
Infection Prevention & Control, Health Emergencies Programme, World Health Organization
Led by: Dr. Andrea Tricco, Knowledge Translation Program, Li Ka Shing Knowledge Institute, St. Michael’s Hospital, Unity Health Toronto

 

What is the study question?
What evidence is there for prevention and control practices/measures for preventing or reducing respiratory viruses in older adults living in long-term care?
What is already known?
Infection prevention and control is a well-established field with a well-studied body of evidence covering a variety of measures.
What this study adds?
This review provides an overview of the effectiveness of infection prevention and control measures that have been studied in systematic reviews.