Editor’s commentary: Rapid reviews of PPE – an update
Greenhalgh, Trisha et al.
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In early March 2020, as the COVID-19 crisis began to break in the UK, the Oxford Centre for Evidence-Based Medicine set up the COVID-19 Evidence Service (https://www.cebm.net/covid-19/). We invited questions from policymakers, healthcare practitioners and others on any aspect of the disease and its prevention and management. One of our first questions, initially posed by the Royal College of General Practitioners (RCGP), was “what is the evidence that personal protective equipment (PPE) is effective in preventing infection with COVID-19 in those working at the clinical front line?”. The RCGP’s particular interest was for those working in primary care. They pointed out that most of the published research appeared to have been conducted in hospital settings and were concerned about the effectiveness of the PPE they had been supplied with. As often happens when reviewers begin to research a topic, we soon realised that the question needed to be broken down into several reviews. As well as leading the first review, I took on an editorial role for the collection as a whole. Below, I offer some reflections on the reviews we’ve done so far. But first, let me explain some context.