Coronavirus information in the fact check for the WHO

A rapid response team at Danube University Krems supports the WHO in summarizing scientific studies on coronavirus

21/02/2020

The World Health Organization (WHO) declared the coronavirus epidemic an international emergency. Due to the novelty of the virus, there is currently still great uncertainty about its transmissibility, infectiousness and the effectiveness of preventive measures. A team from the Department for Evidence-Based Medicine and Evaluation was commissioned by the WHO to prepare evidence-based summaries of studies. This enables the WHO to base decisions on reliable facts.

Rumours and misinformation about the coronavirus are spreading rapidly. The WHO has expressed concern about its mass. In order to counteract misinformation, the WHO produces recommendations that incorporate the best available knowledge. To support this work, the WHO asked, among others, Professor Gerald Gartlehner, Head of the Department for Evidence-Based Medicine and Evaluation, to form a Rapid Response Team, a so-called emergency team, consisting of ten scientific staff and students. It supports the WHO by reviewing studies and reports on coronavirus issues and analyzing and summarizing them within 24 hours.

"Conspiracy theories and misinformation flourish in the face of new diseases and uncertain knowledge. Preparing and reviewing information for decision-makers and the public is the Department's specialty and years of experience make us experts in this field. Therefore, we will do everything we can to provide the best possible support for WHO in its decision-making," says Gerald Gartlehner, Head of Department and Director of Cochrane Austria.

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