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Many infection prevention and control (IPC) interventions have been adopted by hospitals to limit nosocomial transmission of SARS-CoV-2. The aim of this systematic review is to identify evidence on the effectiveness of these interventions. We conducted a literature search of five databases (OVID MEDLINE, Embase, CENTRAL, COVID-19 Portfolio(pre-print), Web of Science). SWIFT ActiveScreener software was used to screen English titles and abstracts published between 1st January 2020 and 6th April 2021. Intervention studies, defined by Cochrane Effective Practice and Organisation of Care, that evaluated IPC interventions with an outcome of SARS-CoV-2 infection in either patients or healthcare workers were included. Personal protective equipment (PPE) was excluded as this intervention had been previously reviewed. Risks of bias were assessed using the Cochrane tool for randomised trials (RoB2) and non-randomized studies of interventions (ROBINS-I). From 23,156 screened articles, we identified seven articles that met the inclusion criteria, all of which evaluated interventions to prevent infections in healthcare workers and the majority of which were focused on effectiveness of prophylaxes. Due to heterogeneity in interventions, we did not conduct a meta-analysis. All agents used for prophylaxes have little to no evidence of effectiveness against SARS-CoV-2 infections. We did not find any studies evaluating the effectiveness of interventions including but not limited to screening, isolation and improved ventilation. There is limited evidence from interventional studies, excluding PPE, evaluating IPC measures for SARS-CoV-2. This review calls for urgent action to implement such studies to inform policies to protect our most vulnerable populations and healthcare workers.

Original publication




Journal article


Infection prevention in practice

Publication Date



Centre for mathematical modelling of infectious diseases, IDE, EPH, London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, London, United Kingdom.


LSHTM CMMID COVID-19 working group