Evidence check

A rapid review outlining the available evidence on a discrete topic or question relating to the current COVID-19 pandemic. Evidence includes grey and peer review literature. View all Evidence Checks by date of publication.

Archive Disease modifying treatments for COVID-19 in children

Added: 11 Feb 2022

What is the evidence for disease modifying treatments for COVID-19 in children?
  • Most of the trials on disease modifying treatments for COVID-19 are focused on adults, and many of the recommendations made for children cite these adult studies.
  • A systematic review and meta-analysis on COVID-19 treatment in children found anti-inflammatory agents, such as corticosteroids, and antivirals, such as remdesivir, have the most promising evidence for use with severe cases of COVID-19 in children.
  • Australian and international guidance outlines recommendations for the use of disease modifying treatments for COVID-19 in children.

Archive Mask type for COVID-19 positive wearer

Added: 11 Feb 2022

What is the evidence for different mask types for COVID-19 positive wearers?
  • Most of the available literature on different mask types looks at the prevention of COVID-19 infection and is not specifically carried out in COVID-19 positive people.
  • In experimental studies on COVID-19 positive patients, surgical masks have been shown to be less effective in filtering viral particles compared with N95 masks.
  • Australian Government guidance on personal protective equipment in hospitals states that patients with acute respiratory symptoms or confirmed or potential COVID-19 wear a surgical mask. TheWorld Health Organization suggests disposable medical masks be worn by people who have recently tested positive for COVID-19.

Archive Post acute and subacute COVID-19 care

Added: 30 Sep 2021
Updated: 11 Feb 2022

What published advice and models of care are available regarding post-acute and subacute care for COVID-19 patients?
  • The burden post severe COVID-19 and prolonged ICU stay is considerable in patients, affecting both functional status and biological parameters, suggesting the need for close follow-up for critically ill COVID-19 survivors.
  • Emerging evidence suggest that age, hospitalisation, a higher number of onset symptoms, history of asthma bronchiale, distinct immunoglobulin signature and an increase of certain inflammatory markers during primary infection are associated with an increased risk of developing post-acute sequalae of COVID-19. A pre-print study suggests that COVID-19 infection may cause microscopic damage to the lungs which may explain the breathlessness experienced by post-acute COVID-19 patients.
  • National COVID-19 Clinical Evidence Taskforce recommendations for the care of people with post-acute COVID-19 encompass assessment, managing infection, diagnosis, red flags and symptoms, as well as goals of care such as communication, access and coordination.

Archive Hospital visitor policies

Added: 31 Jan 2022

What is the evidence for hospital visitor policies during and outside of the COVID-19 pandemic?
  • During the COVID-19 pandemic, hospital visitor policies were used to organise care, limit the spread of infection and reduce the use of personal protective equipment.
  • Hospital visitor policies may include restricting visitors, requiring visitor registration and screening, and limiting visitor movement.
  • Visitor restrictions may have a negative impact on the wellbeing of patients and family members and increase the workload of healthcare workers.

Archive Paediatrics and COVID-19 reporting rates and differences

Added: 27 Jan 2022

How are paediatric patients with COVID-19 reported, and what are the differences in rates and severity with Omicron?
  • In Australia, COVID-19 statistics provided by federal, and most state governments, report on distribution of cases by age groups, with children and young people split into age groups of 0-9 and 10-19 years. Age groupings vary across countries.
  • Reports about the Omicron variant point to a rise in the overall counts of new infections and hospitalisations among children, especially children under the age of five.
  • Reports from the United States, South Africa, and UK indicated that children admitted to hospitals during the Omicron variant wave with COVID-19 had lower risk of severe clinical outcomes.

Archive Omicron (B.1.1.529) variant

Added: 10 Dec 2021
Updated: 27 Jan 2022

What is the evidence for the variant of concern Omicron (B.1.1.529) in terms of transmissibility, disease severity, COVID-19 treatments and vaccines?
  • Omicron (B.1.1.529) was designated a variant of concern by the World Health Organization on 26 November 2021.
  • It was first reported to WHO from South Africa on 24 November 2021.
  • It has 50 mutations, including 26-32 mutations on its spike protein.

Archive Incidental COVID-19

Added: 21 Jan 2022

How are incidental COVID-19 cases being reported internationally, and what is the proportional of incidental COVID-19 cases?
  • COVID-19 may be the direct cause for hospitalisation, have an indirect effect (on principal diagnosis and on delivery of care), or be incidental to the reason for hospitalisation.
  • The percentage of hospitalisations classified as incidental COVID-19 varies. Internationally, it has been reported as between 12% and 63%.
  • Internationally, reporting is often split by COVID-19 positive patients in hospitals or intensive care units admitted for COVID-19 and those admitted for other reasons.

Archive Omicron - symptoms and hospitalised patients

Added: 21 Jan 2022

What are the symptoms associated with Omicron and what is the risk of hospitalisation for Omicron?
  • There is currently no information to suggest that Omicron symptoms are different from other SARS-CoV-2 variants, with the most reported symptoms for Omicron being a runny nose, headache, fatigue, sneezing and a sore throat.
  • Reports suggest Omicron is less severe compared to Delta with reduced rates of hospital admission, intensive care unit admission and mortality.
  • Early animal and human studies suggest that Omicron replicates faster in human airways however has reduced levels of multiplication and concentration deep in the lung.

Daily Evidence Digest

Rapid evidence checks are based on a simplified review method and may not be entirely exhaustive, but aim to provide a balanced assessment of what is already known about a specific problem or issue. This brief has not been peer-reviewed and should not be a substitute for individual clinical judgement, nor is it an endorsed position of NSW Health. Evidence checks are archived a year after the date of publication.

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