Since the COVID-19 outbreak was identified in December 2019, a strong response from the research community has resulted in many independent trials assessing therapeutics, diagnostic tools, vaccines and many other areas. The sheer quantity of ongoing research in this field can make it difficult to assimilate and evaluate.
Traditional systematic reviews tend to be a snapshot of a situation and can date quite quickly. Uniquely, here IDDO uses a living systematic review approach to focus more widely on a whole research landscape to identify knowledge gaps and inform future analyses. The visualisation is updated monthly to ensure the constant tracking of studies with a focus on therapeutic interventions. It:
- Enables users to pull together and access information on global COVID-19 trials;
- Details the study design, sample size, trial phase, and the active pharmaceutical ingredients (API) administered in the studies, where the study was conducted, and whether individual patient data (IPD) will be shared; and
- Is updated via a quarterly search and standardisation of the WHO International Clinical Trials Registry Platform (ICTRP).
The visualisation showcases the metadata available in three different ways: geography, lists and analytics incorporating descriptive statistical information. Filter and search options pinpoint research according to selected variables and studies of interest. Researchers have the option to compare studies within the visualisation and data can also be exported for subsequent analysis.
As highlighted in our earlier analysis and its protocol, innovative visualisations like these are key to preventing unnecessary duplication of independent research efforts.
To date, this has been used to assess the distribution, design, size and other key points of studies registered on specific therapeutic interventions like ivermectin, and hydroxychloroquine. “The fragmented COVID-19 therapeutics research landscape: a living systematic review of clinical trial registrations evaluating priority pharmacological interventions." has just been published on Wellcome Open Research.
This work is supported by the COVID-19 Clinical Research Coalition. IDDO is a founding member of the Coalition which was formed to build collaborative solutions and accelerate urgent research on prevention and diagnosis of COVID-19 in resource-limited settings. It provides free access to COVID-19 clinical trial protocols. A number of Coalition working groups are identifying and addressing the most pressing scientific and operational research questions for resource-limited settings.