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Our guide to key COVID-19 evidence sources


To support decision-makers as they respond to unprecedented challenges related to the COVID-19 pandemic, teams from the McMaster Health Forum and Ottawa Hospital Research Institute – as part of their contribution to RISE – and the Africa Centre for Evidence have created and regularly update this guide to key evidence sources.

COVID-END strongly encourages those supporting decision-makers to:

  1. start your response to any evidence request by reviewing this guide to make the most of what little time you or your staff have to find evidence to inform a particular decision
  2. prioritize evidence syntheses, technology assessments and guidelines that have already been prepared using a robust process (as identified in the guide), have been rated as high quality by independent assessors (on some of the websites identified in the guide), or have been rated by an experienced team with which you work
  3. provide a ‘date stamp’ for any documents you cite (using the exact date of last search for evidence or, if that is not available, the date the document was finalized) given the fast-moving nature of the evidence related to COVID-19

For additional tips and tools to support decision-makers, see here.

To suggest additional key evidence sources related to the COVID-19 pandemic, please email us at

Sources of ‘living’ guidelines developed using a robust process

Sources of recommendations developed using a robust process (and derivative products)

Sources of ‘living’ systematic reviews (and derivative products)

Sources of full systematic reviews (and derivative products)

  • Cochrane
  • Evidence Aid
    • Summaries of systematic reviews that may be relevant to COVID-19 in eight broad areas (infection prevention and control; clinical characterization and management; therapeutics and vaccines; public-health interventions; health systems and services; epidemiology; ethical considerations; and social science in response), many of which are Cochrane reviews included in the preceding source
  • Campbell Collaboration
    • Blog profiling Campbell reviews that are relevant to COVID-19
  • Health Systems Evidence and Social Systems Evidence – Coming soon
    • Systematic reviews and economic evaluations about health- and social-system arrangements presented with their focus on or relevance to COVID-19, quality rating, recency of search (or updating), and countries where the research was conducted
  • Usher Network for COVID-19 Evidence Reviews (UNCOVER)
    • Overview of systematic reviews, systematic reviews, scoping reviews, and rapid reviews 

Sources of evidence profiles

  • COVID-NMA (evidence profiles for drug treatments of COVID-19)
  • Epistemonikos (evidence profiles for select drug treatments)

Sources of rapid reviews (1 of several sets of sources) – By global groups

  • Cochrane (scroll partway down the page)

Sources of rapid reviews (2 of several sets of sources) – By national groups

Sources of protocols for systematic and rapid reviews that are underway

Sources of titles/questions for systematic and rapid reviews that are being planned

Sources of single studies (1 of several sets of sources) – Living evidence maps

  • COVID-NMA (living evidence map and living network meta-analysis; evidence profiles about drug treatments are listed in a previous section)
  • EPPI Centre (living evidence map of human studies organized by 11 areas of focus)
  • Norwegian Institute of Public Health (living evidence map of human, animal, in vitro and in silico studies organized by eight areas of focus, with additional details here)

Sources of single studies (2 of several sets of sources) – Searchable databases of single studies and often systematic reviews as well

  • COVID-19+ by McMaster PLUS (includes critically appraised systematic reviews and single studies organized by quality level and document type)
  • L*VE by Epistemonikos (includes existing systematic reviews of effects and the primary studies, including trials, that were included in the reviews)
  • TRIP database (includes systematic reviews and single studies organized by document type)

Government-response trackers