VA ESP Program, joins battle against COVID-19 pandemic

Friday, April 24, 2020

The Durham VA Evidence Synthesis Program (ESP) is co-directed by Karen Goldstein, MD, MSPH, and Jennifer Gierisch, PhD, and is supported by scientific advisor, John W. Williams Jr, MD.

We are happy to announce the program will be joining the battle against the COVID-19 pandemic by conducting rapid evidence reviews prompted by real-time clinical questions from the field. National VA leadership requested help from the VA ESP to synthesize the literature on urgent clinical questions. The National ESP Coordinating Center has also been coordinating with the World Health Organization (WHO) about conducting these rapid reviews to make sure that they are sharing efforts across agencies and not duplicating efforts.

"Our first question was about the risk of transmission with nebulizer treatment," recalls Dr. Karen Goldstein. "We finished the review in about a week with help from collaborators around the Duke community and from colleagues overseas in the extended Duke community in China."

Goldstein says It has been an interesting experience adapting their methods that usually take 9-12 months for a normal review, or 3-6 months for a typical rapid review, to a 7-day turnaround in this type of ultra-rapid review. 

"It is gratifying to be able to apply these skills in a helpful way to support our medical community working on the front lines during this pandemic," she says. 

View more about the COVID-19 Evidence Reviews on their website here