A

Data from multiple randomized controlled trials (RCTs) or meta-analyses of RCTs.
(This Level of Evidence Filter is in Beta testing)

B

Data derived from a single large, well-designed RCT, or smaller RCTs with limitations due to experimental design.
(This Level of Evidence Filter is in Beta testing)

C

Data from observational, retrospective, cohort, or registry studies; or expert opinion if only case series, case studies, preclinical data, or data extrapolated from other diseases are available.
(This Level of Evidence Filter is in Beta testing)

Do

More than 1 guideline currently support this practice/therapy, and no guidelines currently oppose this practice/therapy.

Inconclusive

Only 1 guideline addresses this topic in support or opposition; or multiple guidelines make recommendations that are not in alignment.

Don't

More than 1 guideline currently oppose this practice/therapy, and no guidelines currently support this practice/therapy.

Last updated March 27, 2021

COVID-19 Guidelines Dashboard

By collaborators from:

This resource aggregates guidelines for COVID-19 care from leading global health authorities and consolidates them into a single recommendation based on concordance. More institutions coming soon.
Categorizations of recommendations are generated as outlined below and do not necessarily reflect the views of UCSF, NEJM Group, or other institutions on this Dashboard.

Hover over an indicator to view more detail about the recommendation. Click to open the full recommendation.

Guidelines' Consensus Says

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guidelines recommend.

Do

Select a category above

More than 1 guideline currently support this practice/therapy, and no guidelines currently oppose this practice/therapy.

High Flow Nasal Oxygen

High Flow Nasal Oxygen/Cannula (HFNO/HFNC) may be used to maintain SpO2 >90-94% in patients with hypoxemic respiratory failure who otherwise do not meet criteria for intubation and have escalating conventional oxygen requirements. HFNO/HFNC is considered an Aerosol Generating Procedure by many organizations; appropriate PPE and precautions should be used. Guideline support for this therapy is largely based on its efficacy in trials on non-COVID hypoxemic respiratory failure.

Systemic Corticosteroids

Multiple high-quality clinical trials have shown that a 5-10 day course of 6-20mg dexamethasone (or equivalent corticosteroid) reduces mortality in patients with COVID-19 who require supplemental oxygen, including those who are mechanically ventilated. Accordingly, all major guidelines currently recommend this practice. Guidelines and available evidence do not support the use of doses higher than 20mg dexamethasone (or equivalent) per day or recurrent courses of systemic steroids for progressive or resistant critical COVID-19.

Protocolized Lung Protective Ventilation in COVID19 ARDS

Lung protective ventilation should be pursued for all ARDS patients undergoing mechanical ventilation. This includes targeting tidal volumes of 4-6mL/kg Ideal Body Weight, targeting Plateau Pressure < 30cmH2O, and titrating FiO2 and PEEP per ARDSnet protocols. Available guidelines do not support significant deviations from existing ARDS ventilation protocols in the care of COVID-19 patients.

Prone Positioning (Intubated Patients)

For mechanically ventilated patients with moderate to severe ARDS (P:F<150) despite optimized mechanical ventilation, prone positioning for 12-16 hours per day may improve outcomes. Continuous infusions of neuromuscular blockade are not always required. Guideline support for this therapy is largely based on its efficacy in trials on non-COVID hypoxemic respiratory failure.

Prone Positioning (Non-Intubated Patients)

Data for proning patients non-intubated patients is evolving, although case series and limited pre-COVID studies suggest feasibility and possible benefit of "awake" proning combined with oxygen therapy in avoiding intubation. Patients who are self-proned require close monitoring including pulse oximetry, telemetry, and frequent clinical observation.

Standard Dosing of DVT/VTE Prophylaxis

Chemical prophlyaxis with heparin or LMWH to prevent venous thromboembolism is recommended for all hospitalized patients with COVID-19 in absence of contraindications. Existing guidelines do not support the use of high-dose or "therapeutic" (in contrast to "prophylactic") dosing for routine DVT prophylaxis in patients hospitalized with COVID-19, but large international RCTs comparing “therapeutic” to “prophylactic” anti-thrombotic dosing and anti-platelet therapies are ongoing and results are anticipated in the coming weeks/months.

NSAID Use if Clinically Appropriate

Current evidence does not suggest any specific harm of NSAID use in patients with COVID-19 for antipyrexia or pain control. Most guidelines recommend that NSAIDs may be used if clinically appropriate and not otherwise contraindicated.

N95 or Equivalent for Aerosol Generating Procedures in COVID-19+

N95/FFP2/KN95 or higher grade respirators (including powered respirators), as opposed to surgical/medical masks, should be used in addition to other PPE when performing Aerosol Generating Procedures (AGPs) in the care of COVID19 patients.

Vaccination against SARS-CoV2 is recommended for all adults. Existing guidelines recommend prioritizing healthcare workers and vulnerable populations for initial allocation of vaccine doses. Several different vaccines have been developed and vaccine availability differs by region and country. Please see the link below for more details.

Home pulse oximetry for monitoring symptomatic patients with high risk of disease progression

For patients with mild COVID-19 who are not admitted to the hospital but are at elevated risk for disease progression, home monitoring of arterial blood oxygen saturation with a hand-held pulse oximeter may help alert patients to seek care if disease is progressing or reassure patients if disease is stable. The optimal use of pulse oximetry in the outpatient setting for COVID19 is an evolving area of practice. Patients and caregivers should only utilize certified and approved devices by their local healthcare authority to ensure quality. Some pulse oximeters may provide false reassurance or false alarms in patients with darker skin pigmentation.

PCR Testing (NAAT) for Persons with Suspected COVID-19

All individuals with symptoms consistent with COVID-19 should undergo testing for SARS-CoV2 infection. PCR-based testing, also known as NAAT (Nucleic Acid Amplification Test), is considered the gold standard diagnostic test for COVID-19, although false negative results are possible.

Antigen (“Rapid”) Testing for Persons with Suspected Acute COVID-19 if PCR Testing is Not Available

Rapid antigen tests have high specificity during acute symptomatic COVID-19, but sensitivity is low. Available guidelines generally recommend use of antigen tests if NAAT is not available or in high-risk, high-prevalence settings. Rapid antigen testing is not currently recommended for testing asymptomatic individuals.

Inconclusive

What does it mean?

Only 1 guideline addresses this topic in support or opposition; or multiple guidelines make recommendations that are not in alignment.

IL-6 Inhibitors (e.g. Tocilizumab)

Multiple clinical trials of IL-6 inhibitors for treatment of COVID-19 have now been published or released as preprint publications. Results from these trials are heterogeneous with some suggesting benefit and others not. Multiple authorities have recently changed their guidance regarding IL-6 inhibitors as a result of this new data, and this topic has moved to the "inconclusive" category from "don't."

Recently moved from Don't

Remdesivir in severely-ill COVID19 patients (O2 but not on a ventilator)

Guidelines on the use of Remdesivir are mixed. The ACTT-1 trial revealed improved time to recovery with Remdesivir, but another large RCT (SOLIDARITY, funded by WHO) found that Remdesivir did not improve mortality. Current guidelines stratify recommended use of Remdesivir based on illness severity and the Dashboard has broken this category into 2 topics: Remdesivir for patients requiring supplemental oxygen but not mechanically ventilated (severely ill), and Remdesivir for patients who are mechanically ventilated (critically ill).

Recently moved from Do

Remdesivir in critically-ill COVID19 patients (on ventilator)

Guidelines on the use of Remdesivir are mixed. The ACTT-1 trial revealed improved time to recovery with Remdesivir, but another large RCT (SOLIDARITY, funded by WHO) found that Remdesivir did not improve mortality. Current guidelines stratify recommended use of Remdesivir based on illness severity and the Dashboard has broken this category into 2 topics: Remdesivir for patients requiring supplemental oxygen but not mechanically ventilated (severely ill), and Remdesivir for patients who are mechanically ventilated (critically ill).

Convalescent Plasma

Most randomized clinical trials have not shown a benefit of convalescent plasma (from prior survivors of COVID-19 infection) in patients with moderate to severe COVID-19, although some data suggests that early use of convalescent plasma in patients with mild disease may help to prevent progression to more severe disease. Given this uncertainty, most guidelines currently recommend use of convalescent plasma only in the setting of a clinical trial.

Recently moved from Don't

Intermediate Dosing of DVT/VTE Prophylaxis in Critically Ill Patients

Given concerns for hypercoagulability in critically ill patients with COVID-19, some institutions recommend "intermediate" (higher than standard dosing, but lower than full-dose therapeutic dosing) anticoagulation dosing in critically-ill patients in the ICU. Data regarding the optimal dose of anticoagulation is forthcoming.

Neutralizing Monoclonal Antibodies – Non-Hospitalized Patients

Lab-generated SARS-CoV-2-specific antibodies, such as bamlanivimab-etesivimab or casirivimab-imdevimab, have been investigated as a therapy to prevent progression of mild-moderate COVID-19 in non-hospitalized patients. Some trials have shown decreased viral load with use of these therapies and potentially lower rates of progression of disease, but the robustness and clinical significance of these findings remains uncertain. The US FDA has approved these therapies for use under Emergency Use Authorizations, and several US institutions offer guidance on how to select appropriate patients for use.

Enhanced mask protection in crowded areas, also known as “double-masking”

Combined with other measures, masking is an important tool to decrease community transmission of the SARS-CoV2 virus. Recent simulation studies by the United States CDC suggests that "double-masking," or using a cloth mask over a disposable medical/surgical mask, may improve fit of the mask on the wearer's face and minimize entry and exit of viral particles.

PCR Testing for de-isolation of hospitalized patients

Authorities typically recommend one of two strategies for releasing patients with symptomatic or asymptomatic SARS-CoV2 infection from respiratory isolation: 1. Repeat PCR testing or 2. Clinical criteria that include patient risk factors (such as immunocompromised state), current symptoms, and time since the initial positive SARS-CoV2 test or symptom onset. This category addresses the question "do guidelines recommend repeat PCR testing prior to releasing hospitalized patients from isolation?" Testing availability is generally recommended to be included in institutional decision making.

Empiric Antimicrobials in Critically Ill Patients

There are inadequate data regarding the use of empiric antibacterial agents in patients with severe COVID-19. Cohort studies show a low incidence of concurrent bacterial pneumonia in patients who present with COVID-19, but many guidelines recommend empiric antibiotics for critically ill or hypotensive patients admitted with COVID-19, and prompt de-escalation of therapy if no clinical evidence of bacterial infection is found.

Recently moved from Do

Surgical/Medical Masks for Routine COVID-19+ Patient Care

Multiple guidelines suggest that the use medical/surgical masks provides adequate protection during routine care (that is, no AGPs are ordered or expected) of COVID19 patients, but many institutions encourage the use of respirators instead of medical/surgical masks at all times when providing direct care for COVID19 patients if adequate supplies of respirators are available.

Recently moved from Do

Colchicine

Colchicine, a medication that inhibits many different inflammatory pathways via disruption of microtubule formation, has garnered interest as a potential therapeutic option for patients with COVID-19. Its efficacy is not yet supported by randomized, clinical trial data, and guidelines do not recommend its routine use outside of a clinical trial. In March 2021, an interim analysis of the multinational RECOVERY trial failed to show benefit of colchicine in hospitalized adults with COVID-19 with respect to mortality, so recruitment to this arm of the study was stopped.

NIPPV/CPAP for COVID-19 Respiratory Failure

In adults with acute hypoxemic respiratory failure, if HFNC is not available and intubation/mechanical ventilation is not indicated or available, a trial of CPAP or NIPPV/BiPAP may be considered. Most authorities support this practice only in mild to moderate ARDS patients or subsets of respiratory failure patients (e.g. COPD or heart failure exacerbation). Risks include delayed intubation and some experts believe NIPPV/BiPAP in patients with ARDS can cause direct pulmonary injury. Airborne precautions should be utilized.

Recently moved from Don't

Don't

What does it mean?

More than 1 guideline currently oppose this practice/therapy, and no guidelines currently support this practice/therapy.

New update

Ivermectin

Data on the use of the anti-parasitic agent ivermectin for anti-viral treatment of patients with COVID-19 are inadequate. Although in light of emerging, but underpowered RCTs, some guideline bodies have recently changed their recommendation from 'don't' to 'inconclusive.' At present, most guidelines currently either do not address ivermectin or encourage continued research by using it only in the context of a clinical trial.

Hydroxychloroquine for prevention or treatment of COVID-19

Existing guidelines recommend against the use hydroxychloroquine (HCQ) outside of clinical trials. Published randomized trials have not shown efficacy for treatment, or pre- or post-exposure prophylaxis. In June 2020, the US FDA revoked emergency use authorization of hydroxychloroquine for COVID-19. In March 2021, WHO extended its recommendation against HCQ to specifically advise against its use as a preventative medication.

Therapeutic anticoagulation in ICU patients with critical COVID-19

Interim analysis of 3 large, international randomized controlled trials investigating therapeutic (or "full-dose") anticoagulation in patients hospitalized with COVID-19 suggest that this therapy does not prevent progression of disease or death in patients with critical COVID-19 who are in the ICU, and may be associated with increased rates of significant bleeding. Most existing guidelines do not recommend therapeutic anticoagulation in absence of known DVT/PE, but do recommend prophylactic anticoagulation for all patients with COVID-19 in the ICU. Full results are anticipated and will be updated here when available.

Therapeutic anticoagulation in patients hospitalized for non-critical COVID-19

Interim analysis of 3 large, international randomized controlled trials investigating therapeutic (or "full-dose") anticoagulation in patients hospitalized with COVID-19 who do not have known VTE suggest that this therapy may prevent progression of disease or death in patients with non-critical COVID-19 who are not in the ICU. Existing guidelines have not yet addressed this data, and as such most guidelines currently advice against this practice.

Multiple guidelines recommend against using azithromycin as a monoagent or in combination with hydroxychloroquine as part of routine therapy for COVID-19.

Empiric Antimicrobials in Non-Critically Ill Patients

There are inadequate data regarding the use of empiric antibacterial agents in patients with mild or moderate COVID-19. Most guidelines recommend against use of empiric antimicrobials in patients admitted to the hospital with non-severe COVID-19.

Recently moved from Inconclusive

Neutralizing Monoclonal Antibodies – Hospitalized Patients

Current data and guidelines do not recommend routine use of lab-generated SARS-CoV-2-specific monoclonal antibodies, such as bamlanivimab or casirivimab-imdevimab, in hospitalized patients.

Baricitinib (JAK inhibitor)

There are inadequate data to recommend routine use of the anti-JAK1/JAK2 drug baricitinib in hospitalized patients with COVID-19, although newer trial data suggest improvement in time to recovery in patients who received remdesivir and baricitinib. As such, guidelines are evolving. Current guideline recommendations depend on whether steroids are available or contraindicated, whether remdesivir is available, and whether patients are on supplemental oxygen.

ACE Inhibitor as Treatment for COVID-19

There are inadequate data to inform guidelines on the initiation of ACE inhibitor (ACEi) or Angiotensin Receptor Blocker (ARB) specifically as therapy for COVID-19 among hospitalized patients.

ACEi Inhibitor – Stopping Chronic Therapy on Admission for COVID-19

COVID-19 patients already on an ACEi or ARB for cardiovascular disease should continue these medications in the absence of other contraindications.

PCR Testing for de-isolation of patients in non-healthcare settings

Authorities typically recommend one of two strategies for releasing patients with symptomatic or asymptomatic SARS-CoV2 infection from isolation: 1. Repeat PCR testing or 2. Clinical criteria that include patient risk factors (such as immunocompromised state), current symptoms, and time since the initial positive SARS-CoV2 test or symptom onset. This category addresses the question "do guidelines recommend repeat PCR testing prior to releasing non-hospitalized patients from isolation?" Testing availability is generally included in institutional decision making.

NSAID Discontinuation

Guidelines to not recommend discontinuing or holding NSAIDs as antipyretic or analgesic therapy in patients with COVID-19 unless there are known contraindications for use of NSAIDs in individual patients.

There are inadequate data to recommend use of the H2-blocker famotidine as an antiviral therapy among patients with COVID-19.

Lopinavir/Ritonavir

Several large trials indicate that the antiviral agent lopinavir alone or in combination with ritonavir among patients with COVID-19 is an ineffective therapy. All major guidelines currently recommend against the use of lopinavir/ritonavir as treatment for COVID-19.

Antibody (Serology) Testing for Persons with Suspected Acute COVID-19

Testing for antibodies against SARS-CoV2 virus to diagnose acute COVID-19 is generally not recommended, but may be used in patients presenting >7-14 days after initial symptoms who have had multiple negative PCR tests but still have high clinical suspicion of COVID-19. Data are lacking to establish whether that a positive test for SARS-CoV2 antibodies confers immunity from recurrent infection.

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* This dashboard presents published guidelines and is not an interpretation of primary data. Content is categorized as "do", "don't", or "inconclusive", based on the criteria described in the next section. Categorizations of recommendations do not necessarily reflect the views of UCSF, BWH, NEJM Group or other institutions collaborating with or presented in this Dashboard. Information presented here is intended to be educational in nature and is not a substitute for clinical decision making based on the medical condition presented. It is the responsibility of the user to ensure all information contained herein is current and accurate by using published references.

Categorization criteria:
Do: More than 1 guideline currently support this practice/therapy, and no guidelines currently oppose this practice/therapy.
Don't: More than 1 guideline currently oppose this practice/therapy, and no guidelines currently support this practice/therapy.
Inconclusive: Only 1 guideline addresses this topic in support or opposition; or multiple guidelines make recommendations that are not in alignment.
Topics categorized as 'Not recommended outside a clinical trial' are counted as equivalent to a recommendation against.

(WHO - World Health Organization; CDC - Centers for Disease Control and Prevention; SCCM - Society for Critical Care Medicine; ESICM - European Society of Intensive Care Medicine; NIH - National Institutes for Health; IDSA - Infectious Diseases Society of America; UCSF - University of California, San Francisco Medical Center, San Francisco, USA; BWH - Brigham and Women's Hospital, Boston, USA).

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