As promised, we have not run away. We have now completed our undertaking to review the 100 models forming the backbone of the UKHSA’s latest offering: the mapping review called ‘Effectiveness of non-pharmaceutical interventions to reduce transmission of COVID-19 in the U.K.‘
UKHSA did not extract nor appraise the evidence as it maintained it did not have the resources. If that is true and if ‘resources’ means cash or expertise (or both), this is a serious situation, as you shall read. So, as we feel sorry for the poor old UKHSA, we have done the appraisal for it.
Earlier versions of the review were very poor but not as poor quality as the studies included in them.
We focused on the 100 models identified in the mapping document as they form two-thirds of the unreviewed evidence base, and contemporary folklore would have us believe civil liberties in the U.K. were restricted on the basis of these models.
For each paper reporting a model, we asked four questions, and here is what we found.
The total entries in each row are not 100 as some studies were inappropriate, one was a duplicate study and one was not identifiable from the reference. Also, studies which did okay in answering one question may not have done well in answering any or all of the other three, so each row should be read separately except for answers to question four, which sums up the quality of the studies. Below each row, we have posted a brief example of the text content, which gives you some idea of what we had to contend with.
For each model study, we asked the following questions and got the following answers:
Q1 What is the NPI being assessed? (e.g. is it a non-pharmaceutical intervention (NPI) and is it defined and described? In what setting? (e.g. community, hospital, homes etc.)
The ‘not an intervention category’ includes reviews of other models and studies where testing on its own is considered an intervention.
Example: ‘Targeted local versus national measures.’