Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19) Pandemic: An Overview of Systematic Reviews

Background: Navigating the rapidly growing body of scientific literature on the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic is challenging and ongoing critical appraisal of this output is essential. We aimed to collate and summarize all published systematic reviews on the coronavirus disease (COVID-19). Methods: Nine databases (Medline, EMBASE, Cochrane Library, CINAHL, Web of Sciences, PDQ-Evidence, WHO9s Global Research, LILACS and Epistemonikos) were searched from December 1, 2019 to March 24, 2020. Systematic reviews analyzing primary studies of COVID-19 were included. Two authors independently undertook screening, selection, extraction (data on clinical symptoms, prevalence, pharmacological and non-pharmacological interventions, diagnostic test assessment, laboratory and radiological findings) and quality assessment (AMSTAR 2). Meta-analysis on prevalence of clinical outcomes was performed. Results: Eighteen systematic reviews were included; one was empty. Using AMSTAR 2, confidence in the results of 13 reviews was rated as "critically low", one as "low", one as "moderate" and two as "high". Symptoms of COVID-19 were (range values of point estimates): fever (82-95%), cough with or without sputum (58-72%), dyspnea (26-59%), myalgia or muscle fatigue (29-51%), sore throat (10-13%), headache (8-12%) and gastrointestinal complaints (5-9%). Severe symptoms were more common in men. Elevated C-reactive protein (associated with lymphocytopenia) and lactate dehydrogenase, and slightly elevated aspartate and alanine aminotransferase, were commonly described. Thrombocytopenia and elevated levels of procalcitonin and cardiac troponin I were associated with severe disease. Chest imaging described a frequent pattern of uni- or bilateral multilobar ground-glass opacity. Only one review investigated the impact of medication (chloroquine) but found no verifiable clinical data. All-cause mortality ranged from 0.3% to 14%. Conclusions: Confidence in the results of most reviews was "critically low". Future studies and systematic reviews should adhere to established methodologies. The majority of included systematic reviews were hampered by imprecise search strategy and no previous protocol submission. Protocol registration: This is an extension of a PROSPERO protocol (CRD42020170623); protocol available on Open Science Framework (
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