In light of the current COVID-19 outbreak, the EBM Analytics team have compiled a list of resources that may be helpful for researchers, clinicians and industry suppliers during this time of crisis.
Tracking the spread: COVID-19 case counts
In Australia, the COVID-19 pandemic is increasingly altering society in numerous ways and will continue to do so for some time to come. All states are tracking their own situations in terms of new cases, hospitalisations and recoveries. Some useful live databases for COVID-19 by state and regions can be found here:
John Hopkins University has a global map for confirmed cases by country, but this may not have the most real-time information for Australia
ABC News has been charting the spread in Australia by daily count of new cases and cumulative count of confirmed cases, including comparisons of incidence and testing rates between states
The Guardian additionally charts the spread in Australia compared to other countries, and provides regional breakdowns within selected states
If you're a researcher
For research summaries of COVID-19 management and treatment, LitCovid provides a comprehensive resource on the subject and tracks the most up-to-date scientific information about the virus, centralising more than 1700 relevant articles in PubMed. The New England Journal of Medicine has similarly collated articles on COVID-19, and articles in preprint that have not yet been published in a peer-reviewed format can be found on medRxiv.
For researchers in the race to find effective treatments for COVID-19, there are a number of funding opportunities currently available from the Medical Research Future Fund (MRFF) in Australia to accelerate research and fast track the development of vaccines and treatments:
MRFF - 2020 Respiratory Medicine Clinical Trials Research on COVID-19
Applications close: 06 April 2020
Grant value: Up to $5 million over one year
More information available on the NHMRC website
MRFF Coronavirus Research Response - 2020 Antiviral Development for COVID-19
Applications close: 08 April 2020
Grant value: Up to $3 million in stage one, and up to $5 million in stage two
More information available on the NHMRC website
For researchers involved in clinical trials impacted by the COVID-19 outbreak, a number of governing organisations have provided guidance on the management of ongoing clinical trials during the global pandemic:
NSW Health guidelines
European Union guidelines
UK National Health Service guidelines
The state and territory Departments of Health, the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA), National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) and the Clinical Trials Project Reference Group (CTPRG) have released a joint statement providing general information and advice for institutions conducting or overseeing research, researchers and sponsors in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic. You can read the full statement here.
If you're a clinician
For clinicians on the front line treating patients with COVID-19, there are some available resources based on the current evidence and recommendations of governing bodies:
The Department of Health has issued National Guidelines for public health units, in consultation with the Communicable Diseases Network Australia and endorsed by the Australian Health Protection Principal Committee
The Australasian Society for Infectious Diseases Limited (ASID) have released interim guidelines for the clinical management of COVID-19 in adults
Additional resources for NSW public health units include the COVID-19 Case Questionnaire
The Brigham and Women’s Hospital have released Critical Care Clinical Guidelines for COVID-19 patients, which can be found here
With elective surgeries cancelled and people being urged to stay at home, clinics are being forced to adopt telehealth services to provide remote patient care, which may have different impacts for different specialties.
One of the key priorities for clinicians is to try and keep non-COVID-19 patients out of hospital, and the NSW government’s Agency for Clinical Innovation has a set of guidelines for telehealth services in clinical practice.
Furthermore, as part of the Federal Government’s plan to protect Australians, including vulnerable groups, from COVID-19, MBS items have now been made available for video and telephone consultations. A list of MBS items that can now be claimed can be downloaded from here.
If you're an industry supplier
With elective surgeries stopped and resources being redirected to deal with the outbreak, device manufacturers can also redirect their efforts to address the growing need for essential medical supplies. This includes the manufacture of ventilator components using 3D-printed techniques, the deployment of defence troops to assist Australia’s only mask manufacturer, and a pledge from over 130 Australian companies to boost the production of personal protective equipment.
An Australian register has been devised to capture expressions of interest from Australian-based manufacturers and individuals looking to assist with supply of goods, services or knowledge in tackling the current COVID-19 outbreak. A separate request for companies that may assist in the production of personal protective equipment can be found here.
If you would like to support current research efforts
If you would generally like to support the current research efforts into COVID-19, there are a number of opportunities currently open:
The Department of Health is seeking interest to assist in MRFF grant review and assessment processes as a member of a Grant Assessment Committee for a number of 2019-20 MRFF grant opportunities. For more information, click here.
HealthMatch is capturing clinical trials focused on or responding to challenges created by the COVID-19 pandemic. Any relevant clinical trials can add their information to the tracker. You can find the tracker and more information here.
There is an urgent call for funding for vaccine development by the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI). More information can be found on their website.
If you would like to create a prediction model
Read this review on Covid-19 prognostic models first, and consider the following:
(1) Consider that all models will be impacted by bias in testing, treatment and reporting
(2) Pay close attention to the quality of the dataset that a model is built on
(3) Consider that the process of development, validation and refinement will take time
Last updated 30 Mar 2020