The evidence synthesis model’s ability to meet stakeholders’ needs was challenged, even before the COVID-19 pandemic began. Low-quality systematic reviews mainly address pairwise comparisons that are rarely updated, resulting in inaccuracies. Such issues have been highlighted by the pandemic, where stakeholders need relevant syntheses of high-quality evidence to inform their decisions. The “COVID-NMA” project provides a live mapping of trials as well as comprehensive live synthesis of the available trial evidence evaluating the effect of interventions for preventing or treating COVID-19. The collaborative project involves an international consortium of eighty-five people, including methodologists, clinicians, as well as statisticians.
They have screened more than 42,000 records and reported detailed data for 45 RCTs, with forest plots for all comparisons. The project’s governance must ensure that volunteers and researchers involved in the platform receive the appropriate reward and recognition for their contributions. Transparent processes are being developed for both the researchers and the data users, and an independent steering committee oversees our work. In conclusion, the present crisis unmasks the shortcomings of the current synthesis model and provides a strong incentive for change and improvement, in which COVID-NMA would play a significant role.