Article Text

Impact of non-pharmaceutical interventions for reducing transmission of COVID-19: a systematic review and meta-analysis protocol
  1. Krishna Regmi1,
  2. Cho Mar Lwin2
  1. 1Institute for Health Research, Faculty of Health and Social Sciences, University of Bedfordshire, Luton, UK
  2. 2Department of Rheumatology, University of Medicine Mandalay, Mandalay, Myanmar
  1. Correspondence to Dr Krishna Regmi; Krishna.r.regmi{at}


Introduction Implementing non-pharmaceutical interventions (NPIs) protect the public from COVID-19. However, the impact of NPIs has been inconsistent and remains unclear. This study, therefore, aims to measure the impact of major NPIs (social distancing, social isolation and quarantine) on reducing COVID-19 transmission.

Methods and analysis We will conduct a systematic review and meta-analysis research of both randomised and non-randomised controlled trials. We will undertake a systematic search of: MEDLINE, Embase, Allied & Complementary Medicine, COVID-19 Research, WHO database on COVID-19, ClinicalTrails.Gov for clinical trials on COVID-19, Cochrane Resources on Coronavirus (COVID-19), Oxford COVID-19 Evidence Service and Google Scholar for published and unpublished literatures on COVID-19 including preprint engines such as medRxiv, bioRxiv, Litcovid and SSRN for unpublished studies on COVID-19 and will be reported in accordance with Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses. Outcomes of interest for impact analysis will include the reduction of COVID-19 transmission, avoiding crowds and restricting movement, isolating ill and psychological impacts. The Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis Protocols checklist has been used for this protocol. For quality of included studies, we will use the Cochrane Collaboration’s tool for assessing risk of bias for randomised controlled trials and the Newcastle-Ottawa Scale for observational studies. The Grading of Recommendations Assessment, Development and Evaluation approach will grade the certainty of the evidence for all outcome measures across studies. Random-effects model for meta-analysis will measure the effect size of NPIs or the strengths of relationships. For quantitative data, risk ratio or OR, absolute risk difference (for dichotomous outcome data), or mean difference or standardised mean difference (for continuous data) and their 95% CIs will be calculated. Where statistical pooling is not possible, a narrative synthesis will be conducted for the included studies. To assess the heterogeneity of effects, I2 together with the observed effects will be evaluated to provide the true effects in the analysis.

Ethics and dissemination Formal ethical approval from an institutional review board or research ethics committee is not required as primary data will not be collected. The final results of this study will be published in an open-access peer-reviewed journal, and abstract will be presented at suitable national/international conferences or workshops. We will also share important information with public health authorities as well as with the WHO. In addition, we may post the submitted manuscript under review to medRxiv, or other relevant preprint servers.

Trial registration number CRD42020207338.

  • infection control
  • public health
  • epidemiology
  • infectious diseases
  • COVID-19

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  • Contributors KR conceived and designed the research with the advice from CML; KR wrote the first draft; KR and CML reviewed and contributed to drafting, revising and finalising the manuscript. Both authors have reviewed and approved the final version of the manuscript and have given their permission for publication.

  • Funding The authors have not declared a specific grant for this research from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Patient consent for publication Not required.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.

  • Supplemental material This content has been supplied by the author(s). It has not been vetted by BMJ Publishing Group Limited (BMJ) and may not have been peer-reviewed. Any opinions or recommendations discussed are solely those of the author(s) and are not endorsed by BMJ. BMJ disclaims all liability and responsibility arising from any reliance placed on the content. Where the content includes any translated material, BMJ does not warrant the accuracy and reliability of the translations (including but not limited to local regulations, clinical guidelines, terminology, drug names and drug dosages), and is not responsible for any error and/or omissions arising from translation and adaptation or otherwise.

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