Randomized trials on non-pharmaceutical interventions for COVID-19 as of August 2021: a meta-epidemiological analysis
View ORCID ProfileJulian Hirt, View ORCID ProfilePerrine Janiaud, View ORCID ProfileLars G. Hemkensdoi: https://doi.org/10.1101/2021.08.20.21261687This article is a preprint and has not been certified by peer review [what does this mean?]. It reports new medical research that has yet to be evaluated and so should not be used to guide clinical practice.
Background: Numerous non-pharmaceutical interventions (NPIs) were taken worldwide to contain the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic. We aimed at providing an overview of randomized trials assessing NPIs to prevent COVID-19. Methods: We included all randomized trials assessing NPIs to prevent COVID-19 in any country and setting registered in ClinicalTrials.gov and the World Health Organization 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 (L-OVE), and the Cochrane COVID-19 registry as well as for results posted in registries. Results: We identified 41 randomized trials. Of them, 11 were completed (26.8%) including 7 with published results. The 41 trials planned to recruit a median of 1,700 participants (IQR, 588 to 9,500, range 30 to 35,256,399) with a median planned duration of 8 months (IQR, 3 to 14, range 1 to 24). Most came from the United States (n=11, 26.8%). The trials mostly assessed protective equipment (n=11, 26.8%), COVID-19-related information and education programs (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 randomized trials assessing NPIs have been initiated with published results available to inform policy decisions for only 7 of them. A long-term research agenda including behavioral, environmental, social, and systems level interventions is urgently needed to guide policies and practices in the current and future public health emergencies.
Competing Interest Statement
The authors have declared no competing interest.
The COVID-evidence project is supported by the Swiss National Science Foundation, project ID 31CA30_196190.
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Paper in collection COVID-19 SARS-CoV-2 preprints from medRxiv and bioRxiv