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Weekly Communique #9

11 June, 2020


Time to acknowledge our expert volunteer contributions

It’s hard to believe that it’s been 12 weeks since the Taskforce’s first panel meeting. What began with 12 members and two panel meetings has now grown to 29 peak health professional organisations with over 180 experts from varying fields and disciplines. So far we have screened almost 3,000 citations to develop 32 recommendations. It’s an extraordinary demonstration of collaboration within the clinical, research and public health communities to ensure that Australian clinicians caring for people with COVID-19 can do so with confidence that they are up-to-date with the latest (rapidly evolving) research and evidence-based recommendations.

It’s also an extraordinary volunteer commitment. We calculate more than 350 volunteer hours each week are now going into the creation and maintenance of the living guidelines and flowcharts and we recognise the significant time and dedication panellists are making to attend weekly meetings and review evidence. We acknowledge with great appreciation the efforts of all who are contributing to this world-first effort.

ARC joins the Taskforce

A very warm welcome to our 29th member, the Australian Resuscitation Council. We look forward to working with ARC and its members to develop guidance around cardiac arrest and COVID-19.

NPS MedicineWise partnership officially announced

The Taskforce partnership with NPS MedicineWise was today formally announced via media release to health professional media and also with the release of their latest podcast episode. NPS MedicineWise CEO Steve Morris spoke to Taskforce Executive Director Julian Elliott about the role of the Taskforce, the new partnership, the role of living evidence and recent and upcoming clinical topics. Listen here or search NPS MedicineWise in your preferred podcast app. We look forward to the development of the partnership and working together to amplify the Taskforce recommendations and guidance.

Inaugural Consumer Panel meeting

The Taskforce Consumer Panel held their first meeting this week. Dr Rebecca Randall and Mr Satrio Nindyo Istiko (Tiko), the co-chairs for the Consumer Panel, are both experienced consumer advocates with expertise in working with consumers in research and contributing to evidence-based initiatives. Over the next few weeks the Consumer panel will identify priority work areas that add value to the development of our living guidelines and reflect the diverse needs and settings in which consumers may receive clinical care for COVID-19.

Co-Chair appointed to the Guideline Leadership Group

The Taskforce is delighted to announce that Dr Sutapa Mukherjee has been elected to join Julian Elliott as Co-Chair of the Guidelines Leadership Group. Sutapa is a respiratory and sleep physician at the Southern Adelaide Local Health Network and holds the position of Clinical Chair on the Board of the Australasian Sleep Association.



COVID-19 research pipeline

  • 8048 studies published (intervention, diagnosis and prevention), 1141 added this week
  • 1415 clinical trials registered, 6 added this week
  • 21 randomised controlled trials published, 4 added this week

Taskforce reach 

  • Total website page views: 145,183
  • International audience: 19%
  • Total media mentions: 391 (133 this week following the remdesivir recommendation)

Taskforce in numbers

  • 29 member organisations covering primary, acute and critical care settings
  • 12 standing expert panels, leadership groups and independent committees.
  • 186 people contributing to evidence review and updates each week.



New consensus recommendation for definition of disease severity in children
COVID-19 disease severity classifications for children (mild, moderate, severe and critical illness) are now included in the living guideline.

Updated evidence base for remdesivir
Last week the Taskforce issued a conditional recommendation:“Whenever possible remdesivir should be administered in the context of a randomised trial with appropriate ethical approval. Use of remdesivir for adults with moderate, severe or critical COVID-19 outside of a trial setting may be considered.”

This remains unchanged this week following review of a newly published randomised trial that compared a 10-day course to a 5-day course of remdesivir (397 participants).

The Taskforce is continually monitoring research to update recommendations weekly as new evidence emerges.

Access the Australian guidelines for the clinical care of people with COVID-19



Five clinical flowcharts have been developed by the Taskforce to cover:

Changes to flowcharts this week reflect: 

  • New tracheostomy recommendation



We are currently reviewing evidence to develop recommendations and flowcharts to guide practice in areas including:

  • Hydroxychloroquine as post-exposure prophylaxis for COVID-19
  • Disease modifying treatments for pregnant woman
  • Disease modifying treatments for children and adolescents
  • Mode of birth
  • Cardiac arrest
  • Timing of mechanical ventilation



It is a core mission of the Taskforce to engage with frontline clinicians to rapidly identify and address priority clinical questions.

Each week we collect suggestions for new clinical questions or topics for consideration by the Taskforce. A document that lists all of the suggested questions, topics and new patient groups that we have received to date is updated each week and available here.

Please encourage your clinical colleagues to provide their insights via the website.