Finding the evidence: Coronavirus

PHE Knowledge and Library Services (KLS) has produced this page to help those working on the current coronavirus outbreak, to identify and access emerging evidence as it is published.

Most of the resources are freely accessible but some may ask for an OpenAthens sign-in. It is therefore important that your OpenAthens details are up-to-date. PHE staff unable to access an article or resource can email libraries@phe.gov.uk for assistance. Non-PHE staff are advised to contact their local health librarian for support if necessary.

We do not accept responsibility for the availability, reliability or content of the items included, and do not necessarily endorse the views expressed within them.

Please help us improve this page further by taking this brief survey that asks you to share your thoughts about this page. Your feedback helps us tailor the content of this page to your needs.

To navigate this page, click on the subject heading boxes to view the content within. Text that is underlined and blue is a hyperlink to a website or resource.

There are eight ways to keep up to date with the latest advice, guidance, and research about COVID-19:

  1. Official daily government COVID-19 update
  2. PHE COVID-19 Rapid Reviews
  3. PHE Knowledge and Library Services COVID-19 Alert
  4. PHE COVID-19 Literature Digest
  5. PHE Behavioural Science Reference Cell weekly literature report
  6. PHE Knowledge and Library Service Weekly Care Homes evidence digest
  7. PHE co/secondary infections with COVID-19 literature search results
  8. Retraction Watch

1. Official daily government COVID-19 update

Daily updates about the status of COVID-19 in the UK published by Public Health England and the Department of Health and Social Care. This is the official UK government website for data and insights on coronavirus (COVID-19).

Public Health England produces regular updates about SARS-CoV-2 variants of concern and variants under investigation in England.

2. PHE COVID-19 Rapid Reviews

The PHE COVID-19 Evidence team produces rapid reviews and evidence summaries on COVID-19-related topics, details of which are available on this page, along with contact details for the team.

3. COVID-19 Alert - PHE Knowledge and Library Services

PHE Knowledge and Library Services produce a daily alert containing links to research and news on the latest coronavirus outbreak. If you would like to receive this email alert, which contains the latest research articles and news from government departments, please contact libraries@phe.gov.uk.

4. PHE COVID-19 Literature Digest

The PHE COVID-19 Literature Digest team produces an evidence digest every Friday, which contains evidence from journal articles, both published and in press/preprints. Please note that preprints are preliminary reports of work that have NOT been peer-reviewed. They should not be relied on to guide clinical practice or health-related behaviour and should NOT be reported in news media as established information. The evidence is organised into 9 themes (serology and immunology, vaccine development, diagnostics, genomics, epidemiology and clinical, transmission, infection control, treatment, and modelling). If you want to be added to the email distribution list, please send a request to COVID.LitDigest@phe.gov.uk and you will receive the latest literature digest, every Friday, straight to your inbox. Below are links to all the previous issues:

      24 Sep 2021 17 Sep 2021
13 Sep 2021
3 Sep 2021 27 Aug 2021  20 Aug 2021  13 Aug 2021
6 Aug 2021 30 Jul 2021 23 Jul 2021  16 Jul 2021  9 Jul 2021
2 Jul 2021 25 Jun 2021 18 Jun 2021 11 Jun 2021  4 Jun 2021
28 May 2021 21 May 2021 14 May 2021 7 May 2021 30 April 2021
23rd Apr 2021 16th Apr 2021 9th Apr 2021  26th Mar 2021  19th Mar 2021
12th Mar 2021 5th Mar 2021  26th Feb 2021 19th Feb 2021  12th Feb 2021
5th Feb 2021 29th Jan 2021 27th Jan 2021 25th Jan 2021  22nd Jan 2021
20th Jan 2021 18th Jan 2021 15th Jan 2021 13th Jan 2021  11th Jan 2021
8th Jan 2021 6th Jan 2021  4th Jan 2021 23rd Dec 2020
21st Dec 2020
 18th Dec 2020
16th Dec 2020 14th Dec 2020  11th Dec 2020  9th Dec 2020
7th Dec 2020 4th Dec 2020 2nd Dec 2020  30th Nov 2020 27th Nov 2020
25th Nov 2020 23rd Nov 2020 20th Nov 2020  18th Nov 2020 16th Nov 2020
13th Nov 2020 11th Nov 2020 9th Nov 2020  6th Nov 2020 4th Nov 2020
 2nd Nov 2020
 30th Oct 2020 28th Oct 2020 26th Oct 2020  23rd Oct 2020
21st Oct 2020 19th Oct 2020 16th Oct 2020 14th Oct 2020  12th Oct 2020
 9th Oct 2020  7th Oct 2020  5th Oct 2020 2nd Oct 2020 30th Sep 2020
28th Sep 2020 25th Sep 2020  23rd Sep 2020 21st Sep 2020  18th Sep 2020
 16th Sep 2020  14th Sep 2020  11th Sep 2020  9th Sep 2020 7th Sep 2020
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21st Aug 2020  19th Aug 2020 17th Aug 2020  14th Aug 2020  12th Aug 2020
10th Aug 2020 7th Aug 2020 5th Aug 2020 3rd Aug 2020 31st Jul 2020
29th Jul 2020 27th Jul 2020 24th Jul 2020 22nd Jul 2020 20th Jul 2020
17th Jul 2020 15th Jul 2020 13th Jul 2020 10th Jul 2020 8th Jul 2020
6th Jul 2020 3rd Jul 2020 1st Jul 2020 29th Jun 2020 26th Jun 2020
24th Jun 2020 22nd Jun 2020 19th Jun 2020 17th Jun 2020 15th Jun 2020
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5th Jun 2020 4th Jun 2020 3rd Jun 2020 2nd Jun 2020 1st Jun 2020
29th May 2020 28th May 2020 27th May 2020 26th May 2020 Bank holiday
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1st May 2020 30th Apr 2020 29th Apr 2020 28th Apr 2020 27th Apr 2020
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Bank holiday 9th Apr 2020 8th Apr 2020 7th Apr 2020 6th Apr 2020
3rd Apr 2020 2nd Apr 2020 1st Apr 2020 31st Mar 2020 30th Mar 2020
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13th Mar 2020 12th Mar 2020      

5. PHE Behavioural Science and Insights Unit Literature Report

The PHE Behavioural Science and Insights Unit produces a weekly literature report capturing a range of COVID-19-related work in the field of behavioural science. Below are links to all the issues, but you can also browse their Literature Report Database:

24 Sep 2021 17 Sep 2021  13th Sep 2021
3rd Sep 2021 27th Aug 2021
20th Aug 2021  13 Aug 2021 08 Aug 2021 30th Jul 2021 23rd Jul 2021
16th Jul 2021 9th Jul 2021 2nd Jul 2021  25th Jun 2021 18th Jun 2021
11th Jun 2021 4th Jun 2021 28th May 2021 21st May 2021 14th May 2021 
7th May 2021  30th April 2021
23rd Apr 2021  16th Apr 2021 9th Apr 2021
26th Mar 2021  19th Mar 2021  12th Mar 2021 5th Mar 2021  26th Feb 2021
19th Feb 2021 12th Feb 2021 5th Feb 2021 29th Jan 2021 22nd Jan 2021
15th Jan 2021 8th Jan 2021 18th Dec 2020
11th Dec 2020  4th Dec 2020
27th Nov 2020 20th Nov 2020   13th Nov 2020 6th Nov 2020 30th Oct 2020
 23rd Oct 2020  16th Oct 2020 9th Oct 2020   2nd Oct 2020 25th Sep 2020
 18th Sep 2020  11th Sep 2020  4th Sep 2020 27th Aug 2020  21st Aug 2020
 14th Aug 2020  No issue 31st Jul 2020 24th Jul 2020 17th Jul 2020
10th Jul 2020 3rd Jul 2020 26th Jun 2020 19th Jun 2020 12th Jun 2020
5th June 2020 29th May 2020 22nd May 2020 15th May 2020 5th May 2020

6. PHE Knowledge and Library Service Weekly Care Homes Evidence Digest

This weekly digest contains a selection of evidence published in the preceding 7 days, in relation to the prevention and control of COVID-19 in home care/care home settings. A number of Covid-19 review repositories, an existing PHE Covid-19 evidence digest, Ovid Medline and Embase, Social Care Online, medRxiv (pre-print server) and various websites are searched. Below are links to all the issues:

      24 Sep 2021 17 Sep 2021
 10 Sep 2021 03 Sep 2021   27 Aug 2021 20 Aug 2021 No issue 
06 Aug 2021  30 Jul 2021  23 Jul 2021 16 Jul 2021  09 Jul 2021
 02 Jul 2021  25 Jun 2021  18th Jun 2021  11th Jun 2021 4th Jun 2021
 28th May 2021  21st May 2021 14th May 2021   7th May 2021 30 Apr 2021
 23rd Apr 2021  16th Apr 2021  9th April 2021  1st Apr 2021 26th Mar 2021
 19th Mar 2021  12th Mar 2021  5th Mar 2021 25th Feb 2021  19th Feb 2021
 11th Feb 2021  4th Feb 2021 28th Jan 2021   21st Jan 2021 14th Jan 2021 
 7th Jan 2021 No issue   24th Dec 2020  17th Dec 2020
10th Dec 2020
 3rd Dec 2020  26th Nov 2020
 19th Nov 2020
12th Nov 2020  5th Nov 2020
 29th Oct 2020
22th Oct 2020
15th Oct 2020  8th Oct 2020
1st Oct 2020
 24th Sep 2020 17th Sep 2020
 10th Sep 2020  3rd Sep 2020
27th Aug 2020
20th Aug 2020
13th Aug 2020
6th Aug 2020
30th Jul 2020
23rd Jul 2020
16th Jul 2020 9th Jul 2020 2nd Jul 2020 25th Jun 2020 19th Jun 2020

7. PHE co/secondary infections with COVID-19 literature search results

This resource aims to highlight a small selection of recent Co/secondary infection with COVID-19 papers. A literature search is conducted by Knowledge and Library Services and categorised by pathogen by the Co/secondary infections Team. A report is generated once a month. Below are links to all the issues - please note, this resource is currently not being updated:

  9th June 2021  15th May 2021 14th Apr 2021  10th Mar 2021
10th Feb 2021 3rd Feb 2021 20th Jan 2021 6th Jan 2021 18th Dec 2020

8. Retraction Watch

This site tracks retractions of research papers about COVID-19, and is updated as needed.

This section contains guidance about the COVID-19 vaccines, information on vaccines in development, links to the published study results relating to the COVID-19 vaccine trials, information in other languages, and guidance about vaccine hesitancy.

Guidance

PHE monitoring of the effectiveness of COVID-19 vaccination: Data on the real-world efficacy of the COVID-19 vaccines
Public Health England, 22nd February 2021

COVID-19: the green book, chapter 14a

Updated 11 December 2020 by Public Health England, this chapter includes:

  • information on the COVID-19 vaccines
  • the dosage and schedule for the UK
  • recommendations for the use of the vaccine.

This is provisional guidance subject to MHRA approval of each vaccine.

National protocol for COVID-19 Vaccine AstraZeneca (ChAdOx1-S [recombinant])
This protocol was published on 10 January 2021, by Public Health England. It is for the administration of COVID-19 Vaccine AstraZeneca (ChAdOx1-S [recombinant]) to individuals in accordance with the national COVID-19 vaccination programme.

Vaccines in development

The National Institute for Health Research provides information about ongoing coronavirus vaccine research.

Published vaccine trial results

This is not intended to be a comprehensive list of vaccine research, but a collection of the published trial results. Please contact Covid19.Dailyalerts@phe.gov.uk if you think a vital paper is missing.

BNT162b2 mRNA COVID-19 vaccine (Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine)

Effectiveness of BNT162b2 mRNA Vaccine Against Infection and COVID-19 Vaccine Coverage in Healthcare Workers in England, Multicentre Prospective Cohort Study (the SIREN Study)
The SIREN Study Group
Preprints with the Lancet, 22nd February 2021

Safety and efficacy of the BNT162b2 mRNA Covid-19 vaccine
Polack FP, Thomas SJ, Kitchin N, Absalon J, Gurtman A, Lockhart S, Perez JL, Perez Marc G, Moreira ED, Zerbini C, Bailey R, Swanson KA
The New England Journal of Medicine, 2020, December 10

Vaccines and Related Biological Products Advisory Committee Meeting
FDA Briefing Document: Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine
US Food and Drug Administration
December 10, 2020

ChAdOx1 nCoV-19 vaccine (AZD1222) (Oxford vaccine)

Interim recommendations for use of the AZD1222 (ChAdOx1-S [recombinant]) vaccine against COVID-19 developed by Oxford University and AstraZeneca: Interim results
World Health Organization, 10 February 2021

Safety and efficacy of the ChAdOx1 nCoV-19 vaccine (AZD1222) against SARS-CoV-2: an interim analysis of four randomised controlled trials in Brazil, South Africa, and the UK
Voysey M, Costa Clemens SA, Madhi SA, Weckx LY, Folegatti PM, Aley PK, et al.
The Lancet, 2020, December 08

mRNA-1273 COVID-19 vaccine (Moderna vaccine)

Efficacy and safety of the mRNA-1273 SARS-CoV-2 vaccine
Baden LR, El Sahly HM, Essink B, Kotloff K, Frey S, Novak R, et al.
New England Journal of Medicine, 2020, December 30

Safety and immunogenicity of SARS-CoV-2 mRNA-1273 vaccine in older adults
Anderson EJ, Rouphael NG, Widge AT, Jackson LA, Roberts PC, Makhene M, et al.
New England Journal of Medicine, 2020, December 17

An mRNA Vaccine against SARS-CoV-2 — preliminary report
Jackson LA, Anderson EJ, Rouphael NG, Roberts PC, Makhene M, Coler RN, et al.
New England Journal of Medicine, 2020, November

Ad26.COV2.S vaccine (Johnson & Johnson)

Interim results of a phase 1–2a trial of Ad26.COV2.S Covid-19 vaccine
Sadoff J, Le Gars M, Shukarev G, Heerwegh D, Truyers C, et al.
New England Journal of Medicine, 2021, January 13

Gam-COVID-Vac (Sputnik V)

Safety and efficacy of an rAd26 and rAd5 vector-based heterologous prime-boost COVID-19 vaccine: an interim analysis of a randomised controlled phase 3 trial in Russia
Logunov DY, Dolzhikova IV, Shcheblyakov DV, Tukhvatulin AI, Zubkova, OV, et al.
Lancet, 2021. February 02

Managing vaccine misinformation

The COVID-19 Vaccine Communication: A practical guide for improving vaccine communication and fighting misinformation
by Lewandowsky S, Cook J, Schmid P, Holford DL, Finn A, et al.
This handbook is for journalists, doctors, nurses, policy makers, researchers, teachers, students, parents – it’s for everyone who wants to know more about:

  • the COVID-19 vaccines,
  • how to talk to others about them,
  • how to challenge misinformation about the vaccines.

Vaccine information in other languages

Public Health England have produced a number of posters and leaflets about the COVID-19 vaccine in a number of different languages. They are available here.

Public Health Scotland has produced a leaflet called COVID-19 vaccine - information for adults. It is available in different languages here.

The British Islamic Medical Association have resources on their website here, including position statements on the Oxford AstraZeneca and Pfizer vaccines.

Vaccine hesitancy

The NIHR Oxford Health Biomedical Research Centre's Oxford Precision Psychiatry Lab has created this page to answer questions about vaccine uptake and vaccine hesitancy, and provide links to guidance where available.

  • UK Government

The Covid Report browser aims to make it easier to find reports and meeting minutes informing the UK Government's COVID-19 policy.

The Government has published a roadmap for how and when the UK will adjust its response to the COVID-19 crisis.

The Wider impacts of COVID-19 on Health (WICH) monitoring tool brings together metrics to assess the wider impacts of COVID-19 on health.

  • Public Health England

PHE has produced a range of supporting materials about coronavirus (COVID-19) for health and social care settings, other non-clinical settings, and for the general public.health professionals, including:-
- Guidance
- Technical briefings on novel SARS-CoV-2 variants

  • PHE and NPIS COVID-19 Toxicovigilance and Chemical Surveillance Summary Report

Public Health England (PHE) is undertaking a regular analysis of their chemical incident data and UK poisoning data provided by the National Poisons Information Service (NPIS) to evaluate whether there are any potential public health risks related to toxic substances as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. The analyses are published here:

12th Mar 2021 3rd Nov 2020 20th Aug 2020

Coronavirus guidance for clinicians and NHS managers. Contains information for Primary care, Secondary care and Community health, social care, mental health trusts and ambulance services.

This document is intended to outline principles for the design of COVID-19 Local Outbreak Plans, which are intended to: build on existing plans to manage outbreaks in specific settings, ensure the challenges of COVID-19 are understood, consider the impact on local communities and ensure the wider system capacity supports Directors of Public Health.

This site contains useful information for councils on novel coronavirus (COVID-19). This includes a selection of up to date, informative case studies that aim to help local authorities as they navigate the Coronavirus pandemic.

  • Institute of Health Visiting

The Institute of Health Visiting has produced Delivering the Health Visitor Healthy Child Programme during the COVID-19 pandemic and additional guidance, to help health visitors supporting new parents and their children.

The Faculty of Occupational Medicine is a charity committed to improving health at work, and they have created COVID-related guidance, including guidance for healthcare professionals on return to work for patients with long-COVID.

  • Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists

RCOG has published guidance for healthcare professionals on coronavirus (COVID-19) infection in pregnancy, published by the RCOG, Royal College of Midwives, Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health, Public Health England and Health Protection Scotland.

This is a regularly updated collection of guidelines, web resources and journal articles on coronavirus relevant to skin diseases and dermatology.

SAGE provides scientific and technical advice to support government decision-makers during emergencies.

Up-to-date guidance and information from HEE, NHS England and NHS Improvement as well as the government to help health professionals, HEE staff and the public respond to coronavirus (COVID-19).

The Health Foundation has created a regularly updated COVID-19 policy tracker, documenting national government and health and social care system responses to COVID-19 in England, and how they change over time.

THE FRAMEWORK IS A DISCUSSION DOCUMENT ONLY, AND NOT GOVERNMENT POLICY

The public health strategic framework for COVID-19:

  • is a resource for others developing strategies and action plans related to COVID-19 and the subsequent socioeconomic recovery over the coming months;
  • represents the COVID-19 policy priorities of the public health system in England, summarising national, regional, and local public health expertise and experience;
  • supports the national, regional, and local COVID-19 response through the incorporation of public health advice into multi-sectoral COVID-19 policy development and prioritisation;
  • sets out the important key elements of public health policy that can help to successfully manage and recover from the pandemic.

This includes the key actions to address the COVID-19 public health policy priorities related to the direct effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on health. It also includes aims and key action areas for tackling the wider impacts of COVID-19 on health, and public health policy summaries of specific policy areas.

Please note: The framework is a discussion document only, and not government policy.

It is a live and regularly updated document, so please check back for updates.

Read the accompanying COVID-19 public health strategy framework slide deck.

Overall accountability for the strategic framework is held by the Public Health Strategic Response Group (SRG). This is chaired by the Senior Responsible Officer for the incident response, Dr Susan Hopkins, Chief Medical Advisor to NHS Test and Trace. The SRG oversees and guides the development and content of the framework.

Latest version 24/09/2021

These resources have been produced by international and UK based organisations to support the management of COVID-19:

World Health Organization

  • Provides information regarding the current outbreak of coronavirus disease (COVID-19).
  • Includes:
    • Country and Technical Guidance. Covers topics such as country readiness, patient management, risk communication and community engagement, surveillance and case definitions, infection prevention and control in health care facilities, disease commodity package, laboratory guidance, early investigations, and reduction of transmission from animals to humans.
    • Public advice

NICE (National Institute for Health and Care Excellence): Rapid guidelines and evidence reviews

  • The guidelines are developed in collaboration with NHS England and NHS Improvement and a cross-speciality clinical group, supported by the specialist societies and royal colleges. Rapid evidence reviews that have been prioritised will look at whether certain medicines may increase the severity or length of COVID-19 illness.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

  • CDC is one of the major operating components of the United States Department of Health and Human Services. Their COVID-19 Dashboard includes United States orientated public advice, guidance and data related to COVID-19.

European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control

European Commission - action and response

  • Contains information on the European Commission's efforts to coordinate a common European response  to the coronavirus outbreak

International Association of National Public Health Institutes

  • A list of publicly available resources, links and documents related to the COVID-19 response, as well as a list of publicly available web pages and documents detailing responses of their member organisations.

International Committee on Taxonomy of Viruses (ICTV)

  • Information about the classification (taxonomy) of the new virus.

Technical Resources, Assistance Center, and Information Exchange (TRACIE) Novel Coronavirus Resources

  • This page by ASPR (Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response) highlights resources identified or developed to address current response and recovery operations to novel coronavirus 2019 (COVID-19). 

FEMA Center for Domestic Preparedness

  • News and information about emergency preparedness, protection, and response training.

Medbox

  • The MEDBOX team has compiled a collection of the most important guidelines and resources, situation reports, communication tools, laboratory guidance, etc.

Elsevier Novel Coronavirus Information Center

  • Here you will find curated information for the research and health community on SARS-CoV-2 (the novel coronavirus) and COVID-19 (the disease). This includes information published in Mandarin Chinese, from sources including the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention.

MRC Centre for Global Infectious Disease Analysis

  • These pages provide all output from the Imperial College COVID-19 Response Team, including publicly published online reports, planning tools, scientific resources, publications and video updates. 

The Sphere standards and the Coronavirus response

  • The Sphere movement aims to improve the quality of humanitarian work during disaster response. They have provided information on how individuals, communities and humanitarian actors best respond to the COVID-19 outbreak. The document has two sections:
    1. The first section covers fundamental principles which are crucial to a successful, holistic intervention.
    2. The second covers relevant standards and guidance in the handbook’s Water Supply, Sanitation and Hygiene Promotion (WASH) and Health chapters.

Health Information and Quality Authority

  • HIQA’s Health Technology Assessment (HTA) team have created a  Database of public health guidance on COVID-19 produced by international organisations and curated by theme.

The current COVID-19 crisis is unprecedented in modern times and the scale and complexity of the response required is unique from any other incident.

With its expertise in virology and epidemiology, and the well-developed public health infrastructure within England, PHE is uniquely placed to undertake a number of initiatives to better understand and predict future trends in COVID-19.

The COVID-19 register provides details of PHE led studies that have taken place since February 2020. It includes only PHE led studies and not collaborative studies led by non-PHE investigators.

Please contact Elizabeth.Coates@phe.gov.uk if you would like further information or if you would like to contact a research study lead.

PHE Rapid Reviews

The PHE Evidence Cell has been producing scoping searches and summaries, evidence summaries, and rapid reviews. These are available here, along with a description of the methodologies undertaken.

Public Health England's Research Portal

PHE has conducted over 150 research and surveillance studies to better understand SARS-CoV-2 virus and its transmission. More than 300 new research papers, commentaries and editorials on all aspects of the virus, the illness it causes, and how to mitigate the impact of the pandemic. These papers are in addition to the rapid reviews described above, and are searchable via this portal.

The PHE Knowledge and Library Services Team has compiled a Guide to Covid-19 Rapid Review Collections, to avoid unnecessary duplication of effort.

At the start of the COVID-19 outbreak, many publishers made their content freely available to ensure that health practitioners have access to the best available evidence. This section brings these resources together, to make them more accessible.

Publisher Collections

  • Many major publishers of medical journals have made coronavirus-related content freely available.
  • Links to these, and further information can be found in this document.

Books

PHE Knowledge and Library Services have compiled a coronavirus book collection, for PHE staff. If PHE staff would like to make a book purchase suggestion you may do so by emailing libraries@phe.gov.uk.

Evidence Collections

The following organisations are providing access to rapid reviews, evidence syntheses, and specialist topics related to COVID-19:

Cochrane Special Collections

  • This page highlights content from the Cochrane Library relating to the COVID-19 pandemic. Together with their partners, Cochrane have created this living mapping of ongoing Covid-19 research followed by a living network meta-analysis of study results as soon as they are available.

National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE)

  • NICE has started producing rapid guidelines and evidence reviews and these are listed on this page.

Oxford COVID-19 Evidence Service

  • The Centre for Evidence Based Medicine (CEBM) is producing evidence syntheses to answer clinical questions about COVID-19 pandemic. This page will be updated regularly.

Evidence Aid

  • Evidence Aid specialises in collating and summarising the best available evidence about how to effectively prepare for and respond to disasters and emergencies. They are working with global partners and a team of information specialists to identify systematic reviews that might be relevant to interventions for COVID-19, interventions that might help health and social care services to cope with the impact of the COVID-19 response on other health conditions and healthcare interventions, and the impact of COVID-19 on non-health outcomes (e.g. jobs and the economy). The summaries are available in English, with links to translations in other languages.

The Strategy Unit

  • Evidence summaries and analysis produced by five collaborating organisations (the Health Foundation; King’s Fund; Nuffield Trust; and two specialist NHS analytical teams, Imperial College Health Partners and the Strategy Unit.)

EPPI-Centre: a living systematic map of the evidence

  • An up-to-date map of the current evidence partitioned into broad domains for easy exploration.

Public Health Scotland COVID-19 Research Repository

  • This repository contains a comprehensive collection of Scottish COVID-19 research. This includes research about COVID-19 in Scotland as well as research on COVID-19 undertaken by Scottish researchers.

Ireland National Health Library and Knowledge Service (NHL&KS)

  • Evidence summaries, rapid reviews and clinical guidance information produced by the NHL&KS.

Health Information and Quality Authority (HIQA), Ireland

  • HIQA's evidence summaries are undertaken at the request of the National Public Health Emergency Team (NPHET) to inform national strategic decision-making.

Canadian Agency for Drugs and Technologies in Health (CADTH)

  • CADTH produce a series of reports on topics related to COVID-19, including prevention, infection control, screening and testing, treatment, and mental health.

COVID-19 Evidence Network (COVID-END)

  • Developed by the McMaster Health Forum, this is an inventory of ‘best evidence syntheses’ for all types of decisions being faced by those who are part of the COVID-19 pandemic response, including:
    • evidence about public-health measures (e.g., masks and tests)
    • evidence about clinical management of COVID-19 (e.g., prescription drugs) and pandemic-related conditions (e.g., mental health and addictions issues)
    • evidence about health-system arrangements (e.g., scaling hospital capacity up or down and virtual-care alternatives to in-person care)
    • evidence about economic and social responses (e.g., school and public-transit changes).

COVID-19 Data Index

  • This site hosts a metadata catalogue of COVID-19 data sets, ranging from clinical, sociodemographic, environmental, economic and mobility data to case statistics and genomic sequences.

SPORE Evidence Alliance

  • This is a Canada-wide alliance of researchers who produce evidence to inform decision(s) related to health policy, practice and/or service for COVID-19.

National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine

  • This collection is a compilation of their resources related to COVID-19. The publications explore prevention, response, and recovery from pandemic infectious disease.

Rapid Reviews COVID-19 RR:C19

  • This is an overlay journal aimed to accelerate peer review of COVID-19 preprints.

Royal College of Surgeons of England COVID-19 Research Group

  • This site links to studies related to COVID-19 and surgery.

If you need assistance with developing and running searches, PHE staff can contact libraries@phe.gov.uk. If you would like a specialist to undertake a search for you please log into our Knowledge and Library Service Enquiries Portal to submit a literature search request.

Non-PHE staff are advised to contact their local health librarian for support if necessary.

Database searching

This section provides details of COVID-19-related information sources, including guidance on how to search, databases, preprint servers, grey literature, search terms, and searching strategies for specific sources. In addition, you will also find links to live literature searches, and reference management software.

Guides on how to search

The World Health Organization has produced this reference book about methods to guide Health-Emergency and Disaster Risk Management, and chapter 6.2 is specifically about how to search for reports of existing research. Health Emergency and Disaster Risk Management (Health-EDRM) has recently emerged as a critical field for research, policy, and practice as a result of the growing recognition of health as a core dimension in disaster risk management.

A roadmap for searching literature in PubMed is a LibGuide, produced by Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, which teaches you how to build and conduct a systematic search in PubMed. The following topics are covered: research question formulation, collecting MeSH and free-text terms, truncation and phrase searching, combining search terms, use of search filters, evaluation search strategies, and managing references.

Databases

ResourceDetails
Guide to Covid-19 Rapid Review CollectionsThis resource has been created by the PHE Knowledge and Library services team. It is a reference guide to organisations who produce rapid reviews or evidence summaries on COVID-19 topics. Its purpose is to enable the quick discovery of evidence to answer research questions. It is made available so that those who intend to undertake reviews can check the evidence base before doing so, thus avoiding unnecessary duplication of effort. Please note that it is not an exhaustive list.
PROSPEROThis is an international prospective register of systematic reviews, rapid reviews, and umbrella reviews. They are fast-tracking registration of protocols related to COVID-19. Before starting a systematic review, check this resource, and if one is already being undertaken, please do not duplicate without good reason. Switch to another topic to avoid research waste and contribute more effectively to tackling the pandemic.
COVID-ENDThis is an inventory of ‘best evidence syntheses’ for all types of decisions being faced by those who are part of the COVID-19 pandemic response. The evidence is divided into four parts: public-health measures (e.g. masks and tests), clinical management of COVID-19 (e.g. prescription drugs) and pandemic-related conditions (e.g. mental health and addictions issues), health-system arrangements (e.g., scaling capacity up or down and virtual-care alternatives to in-person care), and economic and social responses (e.g., classroom and public-transit changes). Before starting a systematic review, check this resource, and if one is already being undertaken, please do not duplicate without good reason. Switch to another topic to avoid research waste and contribute more effectively to tackling the pandemic.
L·OVE platformThis is a Living OVerview of COVID-19-related Evidence. The word ‘living’ describes a system that is updated as soon as new evidence becomes available. It maps and organises all the best evidence on COVID-19. This resource is part of the Epistemonikos multilingual database of health evidence, the largest source of systematic reviews relevant for health-decision making, and a large source of other types of scientific evidence.
WHO Global Research Database on COVID-19This database represents a comprehensive multilingual source of current literature on the topic. It is updated daily from searches of bibliographic databases, hand searching, and the addition of other expert-referred scientific articles.
LitCovidProduced by the National Library of Medicine, this resource provides a central access to 72516 (and growing) relevant articles about COVID-19 in PubMed. The articles are updated daily and are organised under 8 headings (general, mechanism, transmission, diagnosis, treatment, prevention, case report, and forecasting). They are further categorised by different research topics and geographic locations for improved access.
Children and COVID-19 Research LibraryCurated by UNICEF, this is a curated collection of research about COVID-19 and children.
CoronaCentral This resource collates published papers and preprints for SARS-CoV-2, MERS-CoV and SARS-CoV, and organises them by browsable themes (epidemiology, clinical, biology, treatment, psychology, and policy). You can also search by keyword.

Google and Google Scholar are two popular information sources, but there are also some bibliographic databases, such as PubMed, Medline, Embase, Global Health, and Global Index Medicus, which support more advanced searching and provide access to relevant biomedical journals. More information about accessing databases is available here.

Preprint sources

The COVID-19 Portfolio has been created by the National Institutes of Health. It is a comprehensive, expert-curated source for publications and preprints related to either COVID-19 or the novel coronavirus SARS-CoV-2. It includes articles from PubMed and preprints from arXiv, bioRxiv, ChemRxiv, medRxiv, Research Square, and SSRN, and is updated daily.  

Grey literature searching

The MedNar database is a US resource which searches journal articles, medical societies, and other government resources.

Search terms

To search these resources, it is important to use the right terminology. This is not an exhaustive list of COVID-19 search terms, as the terminology is changing regularly, but it is a starting point, and a combination of these terms can be used to search the information sources described above:

  • coronavirus*
  • coronovirus*
  • "Coronavirus"
  • "Coronavirus Infections"
  • "Wuhan coronavirus"
  • Wuhan
  • "2019-nCoV"
  • COVID-19
  • CORVID-19
  • CONVID-19
  • WN-CoV
  • HCoV-19
  • "novel coronavirus"
  • "new coronavirus"
  • CoV
  • 2019 novel
  • new coronavirus
  • ncov
  • SARS-CoV-2
  • SARSCov19
  • ncov*wuhan
  • (outbreak* OR "respiratory illness" OR "respiratory disease" OR respiratory symptom* OR seafood market OR food market OR wildlife) and (Wuhan OR China OR Chinese)

Medical Subject Headings (MeSH)

The U.S. National Library of Medicine produces the Medical Subject Headings (MeSH) thesaurus, a controlled and hierarchically-organized vocabulary, used for indexing, cataloguing, and searching of biomedical and health-related information. Here are some multi-language versions of MeSH:

Search strategies

A number of organisations have developed search strategies to make it easier for people to find the evidence on freely-available information sources:

Public Health England

  • PHE Knowledge and Library Services Team has developed (and updated on 08/03/2021) a search strategy specifically for PubMed, an openly accessible database of biomedical literature, produced by the U.S. National Library or Medicine:
(coronavirus*[Title] OR coronovirus*[Title] OR coronoravirus*[Title] OR coronaravirus*[Title] OR corono-virus*[Title] OR corona-virus*[Title] OR "Coronavirus"[Mesh] OR "Coronavirus Infections"[Mesh] OR "COVID-19"[Mesh] OR "SARS-CoV-2"[Mesh] OR "COVID-19 Serological Testing"[Mesh] OR "COVID-19 Nucleic Acid Testing"[Mesh] OR "COVID-19 Testing"[Mesh] OR "COVID-19 Vaccines"[Mesh] OR "Wuhan coronavirus" [Supplementary Concept] OR COVID-19[Title] OR CORVID-19[Title] OR "2019nCoV"[Title] OR "2019-nCoV"[Title] OR WN-CoV[Title] OR nCoV[Title] OR "SARS-CoV-2"[Title] OR HCoV-19[Title] OR "novel coronavirus"[Title])

If you are searching for evidence from the start of the outbreak then you should combine the above search (using OR) with the following terms:

OR ((wuhan[Title/Abstract]) AND (pneumonia[Title/Abstract] OR outbreak*[Title/Abstract] OR "respiratory illness"[Title/Abstract]))) OR "Wuhan novel coronavirus"[Title/Abstract]) OR "Wuhan coronavirus"[Title/Abstract]) 

If you want to compare the current outbreak with previous similar breaks, you should add search terms for Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS, MERSCoV, MERS-CoV) and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS, SARS-CoV-1, SARSCoV-1, SARSCoV1, SARS-CoV1, SARSCoV, SARS-CoV, SARS1, SARS-1, SARScoronavirus1, SARS-coronavirus-1, SARScoronavirus 1, SARS coronavirus1, SARScoronovirus1, SARS-coronovirus-1, SARScoronovirus 1, SARS coronovirus1).

  • For quicker results, a less systematic search is available here.
  • Filtered search results on the treatment of COVID-19, are available here.

National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE)

Disaster Lit ®

  • This is a guide to disaster medicine and public health emergency literature and related information from the U.S. National Library of Medicine Disaster Information Management Research Center. Disaster Lit ® pulls in grey literature about the coronavirus, from sources including the World Health Organization, Centers for World Health Organization, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and Public Health England.

Canadian Agency for Drugs and Technologies in Health (CADTH)

CADTH has developed a set of literature searching tools for COVID-19, which include search strings, and links to grey literature resources.

Google Scholar

  • Dr Wichor Bramer from Erasmus MC the Netherlands has created this search strategy, which can be cut and pasted into Google Scholar:
2019nCoV|"2019 nCoV|CoV|coronavirus"|"2019 novel|new coronavirus|cov"|"wuhan coronavirus|cov|ncov|outbreak" |"wuhan*coronavirus|cov|ncov|outbreak" |"wuhan**coronavirus|cov|ncov|outbreak"|"coronavirus|cov|ncov*wuhan"

Ovid Expert Searches

  • OVID provides access to databases such as Medline and Embase. This page provides hints, advice and suggestions about how search strategies might be built.

GIDEON (Global Infectious Diseases and Epidemiology Online Network)

    • Using the Ovid medical research platform, Wolters Kluwer developed two Expert Searches focused on Wuhan coronavirus. The Gideon Database has been enabled for all NHS Athens accounts nationally until the end of April. (Please note that the link to GIDEON is in the menu bar at the top, not in the list of Ovid products). A tutorial is available here.

Live literature searches

To reduce duplication of effort and maintain consistency in searching, librarians are sharing their search strategies, so that they can be re-used and adapted by other searchers:

Reference management software

Rayyan is a free web application to help systematic review authors create systematic reviews and collaborate on them. They have created a public Rayyan review, made up of the COVID-19 Open Research Dataset, published by the Allen Institute for AI. The dataset contains over 45,000 scholarly articles, including over 33,000 with full text, about COVID-19 and the coronavirus family of viruses. Once logged in, the review is in the "Other Reviews" tab (called "Review containing the COVID-19 Open Research Dataset"). The references can be viewed and exported in order to create systematic reviews.

Clinical Trials

National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) Innovation Observatory

  • Daily updates are provided in their dashboard of clinical trials in the pipeline for potential Coronavirus (COVID-19) treatments. They are collecting information on SARS-CoV-2 tests currently in development or commercially available for the diagnosis of COVID-19.

EU Clinical Trials Register

  • The European Union Clinical Trials Register allows you to search for protocol and results information on:
    • Interventional clinical trials that are conducted in the European Union (EU) and the European Economic Area (EEA);
    • Clinical trials conducted outside the EU / EEA that are linked to European paediatric-medicine development.

Cochrane COVID-19 Trials Register

Cytel COVID-19 Clinical Trial Tracker

  • The dashboard uses data from WHO International Clinical Trials Registry Platform, the European Clinical Trials Registry, clinicaltrials.gov, the Chinese Clinical Trial Registry, the German Clinical Trials registry, the Japan Primary Registries Network, the Iranian Clinical Trial Registry, and the Australian New Zealand Clinical Trials Registry.

Research Projects

The UK Collaborative on Development Research (UKCDR) and GLoPID-R

  • A live database tracking newly-funded research projects, across the world, to tackle the COVID-19 pandemic.

Digital Science – Dimensions

  • Updated once every 24 hours, so the latest research can be viewed alongside existing information. Research outputs include datasets and clinical trials. The aim is to allow access to the latest research information as quickly as possible.

Trusted sources from Health Education England

  • The NHS Library and Knowledge Services team at Health Education England has collated information and resources on Covid-19 from trusted sources which librarians, health and care staff, teachers, voluntary organisations can be confident to share with patients, clients and families. It includes information tailored for children and young people, older people, people who prefer information in British Sign Language (BSL) or Makaton and other accessible formats.

Information in other languages

  • Public Health Scotland has produced a leaflet called COVID-19 vaccine - information for adults. It is available in different languages here.
  • NHS England has a range of COVID-19-related leaflets in other languages. You can access them here (scroll down the left-hand navigation bar to see the options).
  • Public Health England has translated the COVID-19 "Stay alert to stay safe" campaign posters into Bengali, Indian-Punjabi, Pakistani-Punjabi, Polish, Slovak, Somali, and Urdu. Topics include hand washing, limiting contact, keeping a safe distance, self isolation, and working from home.
  • The US National Library of Medicine has health information available in multiple languages, organised by health topic or language.
  • Yorkshire and Humber region specific Covid-19 information for migrants is available here. The site includes information in different languages and information about services in the region.
  • Doctors of the World - in partnership with with the Red Cross, Migrant Help and Clear Voice, this organisation has published information for patients in 48 languages.
  • Respond Crisis Translation has translated a 1-pager, into many different languages, about preventing the spread of COVID-19.
  • New South Wales Government in Australia produces a range of translated consumer health information on COVID-19.
  • The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine, have made answers to common questions about coronavirus available in Spanish. Topics include how long does coronavirus last on different surfaces, what types of disinfectant are most effective, etc.

Other sources of consumer health information

  • Coronavirus: the science explained - this site lays out the evidence and the facts about the virus, the disease, the epidemic, and its control. This website will be regularly updated with the latest scientific information behind the coronavirus outbreak.
  • EPI-WIN - WHO Information Network for Epidemic - provided by the World Health Organization, EPI-WIN seeks to give people access to timely accurate information from trusted sources, during a public health event, including COVID-19. This information will be tailored to different audiences and will answer pertinent questions as the event unfolds. It contains myth busters, advice, FAQs, and useful infographics.

Patient experience

Information about specific conditions

Cancer

Pregnancy

Hand hygiene

  • The NHS has an information page on how to wash your hands.
  • The US Centres for Disease Control and Prevention has produced some handwashing posters in different languages, including Spanish, French, Arabic, Bengali, Chinese, Portugese, Urdu.

The following organisations provide epidemiological information:

Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy

  • This resource contains epidemiology information alongside news and other information.

China Center for Disease Control and Prevention

  • Webpage tracking the epidemic in China.

HealthMap

  • Delivers real-time intelligence on a broad range of emerging infectious diseases. The system monitors, organizes, integrates, filters, visualizes and disseminates online information about emerging diseases in nine languages

Johns Hopkins University’s Center for Systems Science and Engineering

  • An Interactive worldwide map of the COVID-19 epidemic, showing global numbers of cases and deaths.

The New Humanitarian

  • Website tracking the COVID-19 epidemic spread.

ProMED International Society for Infectious Diseases

  • Publicly-available system conducting global reporting of infectious diseases outbreaks.

Some online courses are freely available to improve knowledge about COVID-19:

Coronavirus: Learning for the health and care workforce (via e-Learning for Healthcare)

  • The programme has been created by Health Education England and includes key materials to help the health and care workforce respond to Coronavirus.Courses in the Coronavirus programme currently include:
    1. Essential Guidance from the NHS and Government
    2. Infection Prevention and Control
    3. Public Health England – Personal Protective Equipment
    4. Critical Care Resources

COVID-19: Tackling the Novel Coronavirus

  • The London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine is offering a course called COVID-19: Tackling the Novel Coronavirus. The course explains what is currently known about the disease outbreak, what the virus it is, how it is thought to spread, how to respond to it, and implications for the future. The course is free, lasts 3 weeks, and requires 4 hours of study per week.

COVID-19 Micro learning

  • The European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control has produced a series of micro-learning online sessions:
    1. What are non-pharmaceutical countermeasures in COVID-19 context?
    2. Which are the non-pharmaceutical countermeasures linked to Personal Protection?
    3. Which are the environmental non-pharmaceutical countermeasures to mitigate the impact of COVID-19?
    4. Which social distancing non-pharmaceutical countermeasures mitigate the impact of COVID-19?
    5. Which are the travel related countermeasures to mitigate the impact of COVID-19?

Emerging respiratory viruses, including COVID-19: methods for detection, prevention, response and control

  • This World Health Organization course provides a general introduction to COVID-19 and emerging respiratory viruses and is intended for public health professionals, incident managers and personnel working for the United Nations, international organizations and NGOs.

FEMA Center for Domestic Preparedness training materials

  • Dr. Richard Schwartz, MD, FACEP, gives a brief overview of the precautions and infection control considerations for Coronaviruses to include Corona Virus Disease 19 (COVID-19). This brief, three-part series provides an overview of coronaviruses, barrier precautions and controls for the viruses, and transportation and movement of patients who have or are suspected of having the virus.

Irish Global Health Network

  • Resources for health professionals and global health workers, this page brings together relevant published data from a global health perspective on the coronavirus outbreak.

Science Matters: Let’s talk about COVID19

  • Imperial College London has launched a free online course explaining the science behind the response to the novel coronavirus (COVID19) outbreak. It is free to participate and takes approximately 19 hours to complete.

Finding the Evidence Training

International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions (IFLA)

PHE Knowledge and Library Services

  • Knowledge and Library Services (KLS) provide a range of information skills training, which can be delivered in a group or one-to-one setting, face-to-face or via Skype. For further information please see here.

The following organisations provide fact checking on a variety of topics, including COVID-19:

Full Fact

  • A UK independent fact checking charity.

Reality Check

  • Fact checking by the BBC.

FactCheck

  • Fact checking by the Channel 4 News service.

FactCheckNI

  • Northern Irish, independent non-profit fact checking organisation.

FactCheck.org

  • A US-based fact checking project of the Annenberg Public Policy Center of the University of Pennsylvania.

Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) advice for the public: Myth busters

  • WHO COVID-19 fact checking website that covers a wide variety of related topics.

Don’t feed the beast campaign

  • Information and guidance on misinformation from HM Government.

Cutting through the Covid-19 confusion

  • A set of resources from Ofcom to help provide people with the tools to navigate news and information about Covid-19.

The Network for Public Health Law has produced a primer outlining legal, policy and practical guidance to understand the Novel Coronavirus and its related public health emergency response.

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