CIDG end of year message 2022

As the end of 2022 approaches, the Cochrane Infectious Diseases Group (CIDG) editorial base in Liverpool conveys thanks to its readers, authors, referees, and Editors for their continued support to the CIDG’s work. In this 2022 newsletter, we reflect on the past 12 months, and consider the year ahead.

The evidence/pasta synthesis team (L-R): Susie Gould, Phil Hinds, Leslie Choi, Paul Garner, Rebecca Kuehn, Melissa Taylor, Tilly Fox, Dee Walshe, Paula Waugh, Christianne Esparza (not pictured: Vittoria Lutje, Marty Chaplin).

CIDG editorial team message 

2022 has been a year of considerable change, across many fronts. As travel restrictions have eased, we’ve welcomed the opportunities to meet face-to-face, and continue our collaborations with authors, Editors, and READ-It Partners. Closer to home, we adapt to changes to Cochrane’s structure and that of our own CIDG editorial team.

Paul Garner’s retirement as CIDG Co-ordinating Editor represents a major change, and we are grateful for his leadership and contributions to the evidence ecosystem since 1992. Paul Garner has worked consistently with the Management Team in Liverpool since 1995 (Paula Waugh, Philomena Hinds, and Christianne Esparza) to assure relevant, high-impact reviews, capacity development, new and updated synthesis methods, and policy development. While it’s been a team effort, certainly the CIDG would not be what it is now without him! Paul Garner delivered his valedictory lecture on ‘Truth not Triumph: backstage at Cochrane Infectious Diseases’ on 8th September 2022 at LSTM. We’re delighted that he continues as a CIDG Editor.

This year, we had some impressive achievements! As detailed below, we welcomed our first two CIDG qualitative evidence synthesis reviews; continued our contributions to malaria, tuberculosis, and other WHO guidelines; and challenged the infodemic, with an update of the ivermectin for COVID-19 review, and publication of a methods paper on a tool for identifying and managing problematic trials. Authors on two CIDG reviews were recognised with two notable awards, detailed below. As ever, the CIDG continues to adapt and develop, and our updated CIDG strategic plan outlines our aims for the years ahead

Thank you to all, for your support and contributions throughout this year. You represent the best of Cochrane!

Do keep in touch with the CIDG, via our website, our overarching programme Research, Evidence and Development Initiative (READ-It) website, and on Twitter.


In April 2022, the CIDG entered Year 4 as a Research, Evidence and Development Initiative (READ-It) Partner. READ-It is a six-year Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) funded programme grant (project number 300342-104). The key achievements of READ-It are outlined here

Cochrane’s future

The CIDG continues to be a strongly performing group, and is recognized as such in Cochrane. This is due to the continued, well-placed efforts and expertise of our CIDG Editors, editorial team, authors, and peer reviewers. In 2022, we revised the CIDG strategic plan to 2025, so we can assure publication of high-impact, timely reviews while adapting to Cochrane’s changes.

As Cochrane closes a year of significant restructure and change, it has reached several major milestones in its transition to a more sustainable and streamlined organization. To keep the Cochrane community updated with these and other developments, an updated Future Cochrane website has been launched this month. It includes:

  • a new series profiling the people, partnerships and priorities of each new Cochrane Thematic Group
  • key information about Cochrane’s new model and organizational structure
  • access to this year’s entire webinar series on various aspects of transition plans, projects, and processes
  • the aims, milestones, and estimated timelines for the 10 major projects underway to deliver Cochrane’s new model of production.

An end of year editorial 'Looking back, looking forward: Cochrane at 30 and beyond' from Cochrane's Editor in Chief, Karla Soares-Weiser, marks the end of 2022 and the beginning of Cochrane's 30th anniversary year in 2023 with reflections on Cochrane's collective achievements, and past and future challenges.

Impact factor

The 2021 Journal Impact Factor for the Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews (CDSR) is now 11.874 (corrected November 2022), which represents an increase on the 2020 Journal Impact Factor of 9.289. The CDSR Journal Impact Factor is calculated by taking the total number of citations in a given year to all Cochrane Reviews published in the past two years and dividing that number by the total number of Reviews published in the past two years. 

In addition, the unofficial 2021 CRG IF for the Infectious Diseases Group is 34.275 (40 publications cited 1371 times). This means that a review published by the Infectious Diseases Group in 2019 and 2020 was cited, on average, 34.275 times in 2021. This is great news for the CIDG and justifies our strategy set some years ago to concentrate on only high-impact timely reviews and updates.

Some highlights from the CDSR 2021 Journal Citation Report:

  • CDSR is ranked 19th of the 172 journals in the Medicine, General & Internal category
  • CDSR received 92,845 citations in the 2021 Journal Impact Factor period, compared with 81,212 in 2020
  • The 5-Year Journal Impact Factor is 11.956 compared with 9.871 in 2020

CIDG editorial team

At the CIDG editorial base we are committed to creating a positive working environment by recruiting and developing excellent staff; working to ensure equality, diversity, and inclusion across the organization; to develop the leadership and management capabilities of our staff; and to actively support staff engagement and well-being.

In 2022 we said a fond farewell to Paul Garner (CIDG Coordinating Editor), but not for long as he continues as a CIDG Editor. In addition, Leslie Choi (CIDG Research Assistant) continues with Cochrane, as an Evidence Synthesis Development Editor within the Cochrane Central Executive Team.

We remember our dear colleague, Dr Marylou Murray, who passed away earlier this yearMarylou's outgoing personality, energy, sense of humour, and boundless talents are sorely missed by the CIDG team.

We are extremely grateful to our CIDG Editors and Specialist Advisors who provide invaluable contributions to the CIDG. You can read about the CIDG Editors in the ‘Meet the Editor’ series. This year we welcomed Dr Joseph Pryce as a CIDG Editor. Joe worked as a Research Assistant at the CIDG editorial base, producing a series of systematic reviews that assessed the impact of vector-control interventions on malaria transmission. These reviews were used to help develop the first formal global malaria vector control guidelines. Since then, he has also contributed to reviews assessing the effectiveness and safety of treatments for malaria and other neglected tropical diseases (NTDs).

Marty ChaplinCIDG Statistical Editor, acts as co-author for systematic reviews with meta-analysis, undertakes research into review methodology, and completes statistical peer review. This year, she has contributed to CIDG reviews as an author on various topics, including house modifications for preventing malaria, the diagnostic accuracy of antiretroviral adherence measures in people living with HIV, and Xpert MTB/XDR test for detection of pulmonary tuberculosis and resistance to tuberculosis drugs. She also co-authored a review with the Cochrane Public Health group on low-carbohydrate diets for reducing weight and cardiovascular risk. In October, Marty delivered a webinar for the Cochrane Methods Support Unit on the interpretation of subgroup analyses.

Christianne Esparza, Administration Assistant, continues to provide valued administrative assistance, in particular with article retrieval for CIDG authors working on high-impact reviews. 

Tilly Fox moved into a Research Associate role in June 2022, as CIDG Review Synthesis Delivery Specialist. This year she led the review updates on ‘House modifications for preventing malaria’ and 'Antibody tests for identification of current and past infection with SARSCoV2'. She also co-authored the review update on 'Pyronaridine-artesunate for treating uncomplicated Plasmodium falciparum malaria', which informed updated WHO malaria treatment guidelines. She is actively leading on several new review titles including 'wMel Wolbachia-carrying moquitoes for preventing dengue infection', and 'Therapeutics for treating mpox in humans’. The latter review contributes to WHO guidelines, which Tilly has been working on with a team in Liverpool. In her role, she has been working with new and existing author teams to develop topics and assist with review delivery.

Susan Gould, CIDG Clinical Research Associate, works on Cochrane Reviews and also focuses on work related to methods of investigating SARS CoV-2 transmission. In 2022 she has also applied these methods to investigating monkeypox environmental contamination, described in a recent publication in Lancet Microbe. Recently, Susan has been contributing to a review of evidence related to mpox transmission and infection prevention and control interventions for submission to the WHO guideline development group (GDG).

Philomena HindsEditorial Assistant, provides a high level of administrative support towards the editorial management of Cochrane Reviews. She contributes to communications and dissemination for the CIDG in the effective development and delivery of programme objectives.

Rebecca Kuehn joined as a Clinical Research Associate in November 2021. Her background is as a General Practitioner, and she completed a Master of Tropical Medicine and International Health at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine in 2020. Since joining the CIDG, Rebecca has led the evidence synthesis for the WHO Guidelines on cystic echinococcosis and has authored several Cochrane reviews on topics including cephalosporins for treating typhoid fever and oral medication for COVID-19. She is currently working on evidence synthesis concerning the transmission on mpox. In addition, she has been involved in teaching critical appraisal skills, systematic review methods, and GRADE to students on LSTM DTMH and Masters programmes.

Vittoria Lutje, CIDG Information Specialist, continues to provide invaluable assistance with preparing search strategies and conducting literature searches for most of our CIDG systematic reviews. She is also a co-author on non-Cochrane systematic reviews of tuberculosis diagnosis and long Covid

Melissa TaylorResearch Assistant and PhD student, is continuing her work on qualitative evidence synthesis (QES); both in producing reviews on topics such as mass drug administration for soil-transmitted helminths, and tuberculosis active case finding, and in exploring how QES could be used in global guidelines as part of her PhD. She is currently conducting a rapid appraisal of how qualitative evidence is used in guidelines as well as conducting interviews with key experts in the field. She is also producing a review on growth monitoring and promotion for children under five in low- and middle-income countries. In addition, in 2022, she co-authored an intervention review update on pyronaridine-artesunate for treating uncomplicated Plasmodium falciparum malaria, and a DTA review update on rapid point-of-care antigen test for diagnosing SARS-CoV-2 infection.

Dee Walshe, Managing Editor, continues to support the timely production of high-impact CIDG reviews, and provides day-to-day support to the CIDG editorial team, Editors, and authors. As Cochrane continues its restructure throughout 2023, Dee is effectively seconded to the Cochrane Central Editorial Service (which will manage editorial processing of all Cochrane Reviews by end of 2023), and will continue to focus on the infectious diseases portfolio. 

CIDG contributions to guidelines in 2022

The latest version of the WHO Guidelines for malaria was updated in November 2022, which cites 22 CIDG reviews. It is a compilation of existing WHO recommendations on malaria and supersedes two previous WHO publications: the Guidelines for the treatment of malaria, third edition and the Guidelines for malaria vector control. A synopsis of updates to versions is listed here

The latest version includes updated recommendations on malaria treatment, including two areas informed by recent CIDG reviews, namely:

Tuberculosis guidelines

Regarding global guidelines, the WHO Consolidated guidelines on TB: Module 5: Management of tuberculosis in children and adolescents were published in March 2022, and updated in September 2022. It was informed by one Cochrane Review: Xpert MTB/RIF Ultra assays for tuberculosis disease and rifampicin resistance in children. The accompanying WHO operational handbook was published in March 2022.

In addition, CIDG intervention and DTA reviews have informed national guidelines in Germany.

Special Collection on tuberculosis

To mark the 2022 The Union World Conference on Lung Health (8-11 Nov 2022), the CIDG released an updated Collection on diagnosing tuberculosis. The Special Collection was curated by Mikashmi Kohli, Adrienne Shapiro, and Karen Steingart (Cochrane Infectious Diseases). Nazir Ismail, Alexei Korobitsyn, and Cecily Miller (WHO Global Tuberculosis Programme) contributed to previous versions. 

The collection includes selected systematic reviews from Cochrane Infectious Diseases and other international teams that underpin three WHO consolidated guidelines on systematic screening for tuberculosis disease and on rapid diagnostics for detection of tuberculosis and tuberculosis drug resistance. It highlights how Cochrane evidence contributes within a wider landscape of tuberculosis evidence and guidelines.

HIV guidelines

The WHO Guidelines for diagnosing, preventing and managing cryptococcal disease among adults, adolescents and children living with HIV were published in June 2022, and were informed by three 2018 CIDG reviews:

In addition, six CIDG reviews informed the British HIV Association guidelines for the management of tuberculosis in adults living with HIV 2018 (2022 interim update).

Contribution to scabies guidelines

The 2018 Cochrane Review ‘Ivermectin and permethrin for treating scabies’ informed UK NICE guidelines on scabies.

Contribution to schistosomiasis guidelines

The WHO guidelines on schistosomiasis (February 2022) cited several CIDG reviews published in 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, and one Cochrane protocol.

Other news

Challenging misinformation

The CIDG has invested considerable effort in challenging the COVID-19 infodemic, and this has been picked up by the media. In January 2022, the BBC Reality Check Team article refers to the earlier version of the Ivermectin for preventing and treating COVID19 review (July 2021) and noted “The world-leading experts on reviewing medical evidence, Cochrane, concluded based on just these reliable trials that there was "insufficient evidence" to recommend the drug”. The review has since been updated in June 2022, and shows there really was no evidence to date to back the extraordinary claims of benefit made for this drug.

Harding Prize for Useful and Trustworthy Communication

In March 2022, the CIDG review of hydroxychloroquine for COVID-19 was recognised with the inaugural Harding Prize for Useful and Trustworthy Communication. The prize was launched to celebrate individuals or teams liaising on information which helps inform policies or procedures. The review, published in February 2021, was accompanied by a Cochrane editorial outlining the history of this drug and what led to the chaotic and confusing situation with the assessment of chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine efficacy. The review showed that hydroxychloroquine is ineffective for COVID-19, at a time when global demand was at its highest for the drug.

Kenneth Warren Prize

Warm congratulations to Cochrane Infectious Diseases Group (CIDG) Editor Dr Eleanor Ochodo-Opondo, for winning Cochrane's prestigious 2022 Kenneth Warren Prize. This prize is awarded annually to a Cochrane Review author publishing on a health issue relevant to low-and middle-income countries (LMICs), which is of high methodological quality. 2022’s winner, Dr Eleanor Ochodo-Opondo, won for her CIDG diagnostic test accuracy (DTA) Cochrane Review 'Point-of-care tests detecting HIV nucleic acids for diagnosis of HIV-1 or HIV-2 infection in infants and children aged 18 months or less'.

Qualitative evidence synthesis

The area of qualitative evidence synthesis (QES) is likely to be important in the future to health systems research. In 2022, the CIDG published its first QES Cochrane Reviews: ‘Community views on mass drug administration for filariasis: a qualitative evidence synthesis’ and ‘Rapid molecular tests for tuberculosis and tuberculosis drug resistance: a qualitative evidence synthesis of recipient and provider views’. We continue to develop our capacity in qualitative evidence synthesis, and have embarked on research about how qualitative research and synthesis could improve guideline development. We look forward to sharing additional QES publications with you in 2023, including an upcoming review on community views on active case finding for tuberculosis. 

Cochrane Protocols, Reviews, and Updates in 2022 

As of December 2022, the CIDG published 9 new reviews, 11 review updates, and 7 protocols. Click each title below to access the full-text open access article.

New reviews

1.      Taylor M, Thomas R, Oliver S, Garner P. Community views on mass drug administration for filariasis: a qualitative evidence synthesis. Read the news story.

2.      Ochodo EA, Olwanda EE, Deeks JJ, Mallett S. Pointofcare viral load tests to detect high HIV viral load in people living with HIV/AIDS attending health facilities

3.      van't Hoog A, Viney K, Biermann O, Yang B, Leeflang MMG, Langendam MW. Symptom and chestradiography screening for active pulmonary tuberculosis in HIVnegative adults and adults with unknown HIV status.

4.      Engel N, Ochodo EA, Karanja PW, Schmidt B-M, Janssen R, Steingart KR, Oliver S. Rapid molecular tests for tuberculosis and tuberculosis drug resistance: a qualitative evidence synthesis of recipient and provider views. Read the news story.

5.      Pillay S, Steingart KR, Davies GR, Chaplin M, De Vos M, Schumacher SG, Warren R, Theron G. Xpert MTB/XDR for detection of pulmonary tuberculosis and resistance to isoniazid, fluoroquinolones, ethionamide, and amikacin

6.      Garn JV, Wilkers JL, Meehan AA, Pfadenhauer LM, Burns J, Imtiaz R, Freeman MC. Interventions to improve water, sanitation, and hygiene for preventing soiltransmitted helminth infection

7.      Smith R, Villanueva G, Probyn K, Sguassero Y, Ford N, Orrell C, Cohen K, Chaplin M, Leeflang MMG, Hine P. Accuracy of measures for antiretroviral adherence in people living with HIV. Read the news story.

8.      Reis S, Metzendorf M-I, Kuehn R, Popp M, Gagyor I, Kranke P, Meybohm P, Skoetz N, Weibel S. Nirmatrelvir combined with ritonavir for preventing and treating COVID19

9.      Kuehn R, Stoesser N, Eyre D, Darton TC, Basnyat B, Parry CM. Treatment of enteric fever (typhoid and paratyphoid fever) with cephalosporins.

Updated reviews

1.      Pryce J, Medley N, Choi L. Indoor residual spraying for preventing malaria in communities using insecticidetreated nets

2.      Ebrahimzadeh S, Islam N, Dawit H, Salameh J-P, Kazi S, Fabiano N, Treanor L, Absi M, Ahmad F, Rooprai P, Al Khalil A, Harper K, Kamra N, Leeflang MMG, Hooft L, van der Pol CB, Prager R, Hare SS, Dennie C, Spijker R, Deeks JJ, Dinnes J, Jenniskens K, Korevaar DA, Cohen JF, Van den Bruel A, Takwoingi Y, van de Wijgert J, Wang J, Pena E, Sabongui S, McInnes MDF. Thoracic imaging tests for the diagnosis of COVID19

3.      Struyf T, Deeks JJ, Dinnes J, Takwoingi Y, Davenport C, Leeflang MMG, Spijker R, Hooft L, Emperador D, Domen J, Tans A, Janssens S, Wickramasinghe D, Lannoy V, Horn SR A, Van den Bruel A. Signs and symptoms to determine if a patient presenting in primary care or hospital outpatient settings has COVID19

4.      Popp M, Reis S, Schießer S, Hausinger RIlona, Stegemann M, Metzendorf M-I, Kranke P, Meybohm P, Skoetz N, Weibel S. Ivermectin for preventing and treating COVID19. Read the news story.

5.      Pryce J, Taylor M, Fox T, Hine P. Pyronaridineartesunate for treating uncomplicated Plasmodium falciparum malaria

6.      Dinnes J, Sharma P, Berhane S, van Wyk SS, Nyaaba N, Domen J, Taylor M, Cunningham J, Davenport C, Dittrich S, Emperador D, Hooft L, Leeflang MMG, McInnes MDF, Spijker R, Verbakel JY, Takwoingi Y, Taylor-Phillips S, Van den Bruel A, Deeks JJ. Rapid, pointofcare antigen tests for diagnosis of SARSCoV2 infection

7.      Kay AW, Ness T, Verkuijl SE, Viney K, Brands A, Masini T, González Fernández L, Eisenhut M, Detjen AK, Mandalakas AM, Steingart KR, Takwoingi Y. Xpert MTB/RIF Ultra assay for tuberculosis disease and rifampicin resistance in children

8.      Allen EN, Wiyeh AB, McCaul M. Adding rapid diagnostic tests to communitybased programmes for treating malaria

9.      Fox T, Furnival-Adams J, Chaplin M, Napier M, Olanga EA. House modifications for preventing malaria. Read the news story.

10.  Martello E, Yogeswaran G, Reithinger R, Leonardi-Bee J. Mosquito aquatic habitat modification and manipulation interventions to control malaria.

11.  Fox T, Geppert J, Dinnes J, Scandrett K, Bigio J, Sulis G, Hettiarachchi D, Mathangasinghe Y, Weeratunga P, Wickramasinghe D, Bergman H, Buckley BS, Probyn K, Sguassero Y, Davenport C, Cunningham J, Dittrich S, Emperador D, Hooft L, Leeflang MMG, McInnes MDF, Spijker R, Struyf T, Van den Bruel A, Verbakel JY, Takwoingi Y, Taylor-Phillips S, Deeks JJ. Antibody tests for identification of current and past infection with SARSCoV2

New protocols

1.      Wagah MG, Gabaldón Figueira JC, Maia MF. Topical repellents for malaria prevention.

2.      Crider KS, Williams JL, Qi YP, Gutman J, Yeung LF, Mai CT, Finkelstein JL, Mehta S, Pons-Duran C, Menéndez C, Moraleda C, Rogers LM, Daniels K, Green P. Folic acid supplementation and malaria susceptibility and severity among people taking antifolate antimalarial drugs in endemic areas

3.      Reis S, Popp M, Kuehn R, Metzendorf M-I, Gagyor I, Kranke P, Meybohm P, Skoetz N, Weibel S. Nirmatrelvir combined with ritonavir for preventing and treating COVID19.

4.      Korula P, Alexander H, John JS, Kirubakaran R, Singh B, Tharyan P, Rupali P. Favipiravir for treating COVID19

5.      Ochodo EA, Owino E, Nyagol B, Fox T, McCaul M, Kredo T, Cohen K, Rupali P. Molnupiravir for treating COVID19

6.      Pérez-Gaxiola G, Velásquez-Salazar P, Veroniki AA, Zambrano-Rico S, Hernández Alcaraz M, Cuello-García CA, Florez ID. Interventions for treating head lice: a network metaanalysis

7.      Chen IT, Swai JK, Msellemu D, Lobo NF, Bradley J, Moore SJ. Volatile pyrethroid spatial repellents for malaria prevention.

Other publications

In addition, CIDG editorial base staff were involved as authors on the following publications.

1.      Cogo E, Murray M, Villanueva G, Hamel C, Garner P, Senior SL, Henschke N. Suicide rates and suicidal behaviour in displaced people: A systematic review. PLoS One. 2022 17(3):e0263797. DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0263797. Read the news story.

2.      Divala TH, Lewis J, Bulterys MA, Lutje V, Corbett EL, Schumacher SG, MacPherson P. Missed opportunities for diagnosis and treatment in patients with TB symptoms: a systematic review. Public Health Action. 2022 Mar 21;12(1):10-7. DOI: 10.5588/pha.21.0022

3.      Shrestha S, Thapa S, Garner P, Caws M, Gurung SC, Fox T, et al. (2022) Is routine Vitamin A supplementation still justified for children in Nepal? Trial synthesis findings applied to Nepal national mortality estimates. PLoS ONE 17(5): e0268507.

4.      Weibel S, Popp M, Reis S, Skoetz N, Garner P, Sydenham E. Identifying and managing problematic trials: a Research Integrity Assessment (RIA) tool for randomized controlled trials in evidence synthesis. Research Synthesis Methods. 2022 Aug 29. DOI: 10.1002/jrsm.1599

5.      Gould S, Atkinson B, Onianwa O, Spencer A, Furneaux J, Grieves J, Taylor C, Milligan I, Bennett A, Fletcher T, Dunning J; NHS England Airborne High Consequence Infectious Diseases Network. Air and surface sampling for monkeypox virus in a UK hospital: an observational study. Lancet Microbe. 2022 Oct 7;3(12):e904–11. DOI: 10.1016/S2666-5247(22)00257-9. Read the LSTM news story here.

6.  Pokhrel KN, Thapa S, Garner P, Caws M, Dhital R, Gurung SC, Fox T, Shrestha S. Should all pregnant women take calcium supplements in Nepal? GRADE evidence to policy assessment. Global Health Action. 2022 Dec 31;15(1):2128283. DOI: 10.1080/16549716.2022.2128283

The CIDG editorial base will close on 5pm Tuesday 20th December. We will re-open on Tuesday 3rd January 2023.

We look forward to sharing more publications and developments with you in 2023.

With best wishes from the CIDG editorial team