EUnetHTA Response to COVID-19
In the face of an unprecedented situation, it is essential that researched, timely and reliable information be made available to inform all stakeholders, whether they be healthcare professionals or the general public, to help develop a coordinated response to the COVID-19 pandemic. With this in mind, EUnetHTA has taken the decision to prioritise COVID-19-related initiatives above other work for the remaining duration of Joint Action 3, that being until the end of May, 2021.
In terms of COVID-19 products, EUnetHTA are producing ‘Rolling Collaborative Reviews’ for therapeutic treatments and ‘Rapid Collaborative Reviews’ for diagnostic testing and therapeutic treatments. These are evidence-based reports that inform policy, decision-making, and health service planning. Their primary objective is to provide decision-makers with a timely synthesis of available evidence on the comparative effectiveness and safety or diagnostic accuracy of health technologies (diagnostic, therapeutic, etc.) for the management of the current pandemic, with continuous updates as research evolves.
Prioritising COVID-19-related work
What is the rationale for EUnetHTA collaboration in this area?
EUnetHTA comprises a network that spans more than 80 HTA partners across Europe, and is thus well-positioned to mobilise its resources to carry out key functions in response to the COVID-19 outbreak. The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the importance of EU cooperation to safeguard the health of EU citizens, and the HTA community should contribute the best available scientific research, where possible, to this response.
By prioritising COVID-19 related work, EUnetHTA is:
- Producing Rolling Collaborative Reviews and Rapid Collaborative Reviews on treatments. The list of current compounds undergoing these procedures can be found here.
- Producing Rapid Collaborative Reviews on diagnostics. The list of current diagnostics undergoing these procedures can be found here.
- Acting as a central coordinating body for COVID-19 work in bringing together partners, experts, and relevant information. As part of this, EUnetHTA has reached out to partners to collect COVID-19-related publications and outputs, to be stored here in a repository for ease of access.
Why is EUnetHTA producing different types of products for COVID-19?
As part of its response to the COVID-19 pandemic, EUnetHTA is working to output ‘Rolling Collaborative Reviews (RCR)’. The objective of such reviews is to provide decision-makers with a timely synthesis of available evidence on the comparative effectiveness of therapeutic health technologies relevant to the management of the current pandemic.
What are Rolling Collaborative Reviews vs. REAs
The aim of EUnetHTA ‘Rolling Collaborative Reviews’ (RCR) is:
- To inform health policy at the national, regional, and European levels at an early stage in the life-cycle of therapies, of which interventions are currently undergoing clinical trials.
- To monitor permanently – in the format of a living document – potential therapies against COVID-19.
- To support preparations for an evidence-based purchasing of regional/ national health politicians, if necessary.
To avoid redundancies and duplication, the EUnetHTA RCRs will reuse sources from international initiatives to collect information and data on COVID-19 treatments.
The scope of the RCR is of a descriptive nature. These EUnetHTA Rolling Procedures are not meant to substitute a joint REA adhering to the agreed procedures, aiming at critical appraisal of the clinical evidence submitted for approval.
Please access the RCR project plan and all separate RCR documents, updated on a monthly or bi-monthly basis, here.
When does EUnetHTA update Rapid Collaborate Reviews on COVID-19 health technologies?
The objective of the EUnetHTA outputs around COVID-19 health technologies, such as the Rolling and Rapid Collaborative Reviews, is to support decision-makers with timely information about the comparative evidence. Whereas the Rolling Collaborative Reviews are updated on a (bi-)monthly basis, the Rapid Collaborative Reviews are no living documents. However, in certain cases it can be worthwhile to update the Rapid Collaborative Reviews.
Reasons for updating could be:
- Newly published evidence which may impact the results and/or conclusions.
- To ensure the EUnetHTA review considers the complete body of evidence (i.e. fill evidence gaps).
Reasons for not updating the EUnetHTA review could be:
- Newly published evidence which does not impact the results and/or conclusions.
- Other organisations/networks have published a systematic review that already includes the new evidence.
- The policy question has changed/ is not applicable anymore.
Please note that case-by-case decisions for updates are made within the assessment team. During the COVID-19 pandemic it became clear that both national/regional agencies, but also EUnetHTA, have to prioritise their scarce resources. Therefore, a priority setting of policy questions is important. This could mean that only certain EUnetHTA reviews will undergo an update procedure.
What are Rapid Collaborative Reviews vs. Rolling Collaborative Reviews?
Rapid Collaborative Reviews (named PTRCRXX in pharmaceutical technologies and RCROTXX in other technologies) are more comparable to a REA than the Rolling Collaborative Reviews (RCR), but are a slimmer version. In the Rapid Collaborative Reviews an assessment team (author, co-author, dedicated reviewers) is built, which conducts a systematic literature review and a synthesis of the evidence while following a similar reporting template as to the REAs. Also, for a Rapid Collaborative Review a PICO is established. Rapid Collaborative Reviews however, are not living documents like the RCRs and will only be updated on a case-by-case basis. For COVID-19 treatments, the Rapid Collaborative Reviews can be a follow-up from the RCR and will use the information that report as a starting point.
Call for Information
EUnetHTA partner organisations are located across Europe and work to develop and implement health care policy and response at the national, regional, and European levels. As such, we are well positioned to contribute to the knowledge pool for both the current pandemic and for the institutional response to those that may occur in the future. We are, therefore, developing a repository to connect stakeholders with COVID-19 information from EUnetHTA network partners.
The COVID-19 information repository will connect stakeholders with data from EUnetHTA network partners, with information categorised under the following areas, accessible via the above category links.
- Diagnostics – Rapid Collaborative Reviews
- Treatment – Rolling & Rapid Collaborative Reviews
- Useful Links – Monitoring of Publications
This will be a ‘work in progress’ as we accrue data while the response to COVID-19 evolves, so please bookmark this page for quick reference as we build out the links.
For any questions, please contact the EUnetHTA Secretariat at firstname.lastname@example.org
EUnetHTA Statements on COVID-19
For EUnetHTA’s general statements regarding the COVID-19 pandemic, please follow these links: