Background: The number of published clinical practice guidelines and recommendations related to SARS-CoV-2 infections MESHD
causing COVID-19 MESHD
has rapidly increased. However, insufficient consideration of appropriate methodologies in the guideline development could lead to misleading information, uncertainty among professionals, and potentially harmful actions for patients. Purpose: Rapid systematic review of clinical practice guidelines and recommendations in the context of COVID-19 MESHD
to explore if basic methodological standards of guideline development have been met. Data sources: MEDLINE [PubMed], CINAHL [Ebsco], Trip HGNC
and manual search; from Feb 1st 2020 until April 27th 2020. Study selection: All types of healthcare workers providing any kind of healthcare to any patient population in any setting. Data extraction: At least two reviewers independently extracted guideline characteristics, conducted critical appraisal according to The Appraisal of Guidelines for Research and Evaluation Instrument (AGREE II) and classified the guidelines using the Association of the Scientific Medical Societies (AWMF) Guidance Manual and Rules for Guideline Development. We plan six-month updates (living review). Data synthesis: There were 1342 titles screened and 188 guidelines included. The highest average AGREE II domain score was 89% for scope and purpose, the lowest for rigor of development (25%). Only eight guidelines (4%) were based on a systematic literature search and a structured consensus process by representative experts (classified as the highest methodological quality, S3 according to AWMF). Patients were only included in the development of one guideline. A process for regular updates was described in 27 guidelines (14%). Limitations: Methodological focus only. Conclusions: Despite clear scope, most publications fell short of basic methodological standards of guideline development. Future research should monitor the evolving methodological quality of the guidelines and their updates over time. Registration/Publication: The protocol was published at www.researchgate.net, DOI: 10.13140/RG.2.2.21293.51689. Preliminary results are publicly available on medRxiv. Funding Source: This study was partly funded by the COVID-19 MESHD
Rapid Response Funding Scheme of the Wiener Wissenschafts-, Forschungs- und Technologiefonds (WWTF)/Vienna Science and Technology Fund (project number COV20-028). The funding institution had no influence on the results of this work.