BIREME Bulletin n° 72

Digital innovation to facilitate evidence use in the VHL

On August 23, the Digital Innovations Webinar was held to facilitate the use of evidence and two new databases were launched: BIGG-REC and Therapeutics Covid-19. The initiative was promoted by the Department of Evidence and Intelligence for Action in Health of the Pan American Health Organization (EIH/PAHO/WHO) and BIREME through the motivation to present and disseminate new resources to facilitate the use of evidence by decision makers in health.

These are the PAHO/WHO GRADE Recommendations database for the Third Sustainable Development Goal (SDG-3), which bears the acronym BIGG-REC, and the Evidence of Therapeutic Options for COVID-19 database, which bears the acronym COVID-Therapy. Both databases are the product of a collaboration between the Pan American Health Organization and the Epistemonikos Foundation and are available in the Virtual Health Library (VHL).

What is BIGG-REC?

The BIGG-REC is a repository of clinical, public health, and health policy recommendations issued in WHO and PAHO guidelines that follow the GRADE approach – The Grading of Recommendations Assessment, Development and Evaluation.

BIGG-REC provides users with an efficient way to search and find recommendations and guidance based on their questions of interest, with built-in search, filter, and cross-tabulation capabilities, including organization by SDG-3 goals. It uses the widely accepted “population, interventions, comparators, and outcomes” format to map and catalog recommendations. One of its main objectives is to enable decision-making by health professionals and decision-makers, contextualized at local, provincial, regional and jurisdictional levels, adopting or adapting these recommendations.

The nearly three thousand recommendations were extracted from the texts of the guidelines produced by WHO and PAHO that meet the GRADE, and which are indexed in the BIGG database – International Database of GRADE Guides, also available in the VHL.

An important feature that deserves to be highlighted is the integration between the BIGG and BIGG-REC databases, when it comes to a WHO and PAHO Guide. By registering the Guide on BIGG, it is possible to have the list of recommendations with the link that takes one to BIGG-REC, and vice versa.

What is COVID-Therapy?

COVID-Therapy is a dynamic, live systematic review that is updated according to new evidence. It was a PAHO initiative in response to the need to inform and disseminate therapeutic options for COVID-19 in light of new research and evidence that emerged every day.

The COVID-Therapy database is the result of this daily effort to update the therapeutic options for COVID-19. It presents an evidence summary of 235 pharmacological interventions for the management of COVID-19, supported by a live systematic review of evidence from 734 studies to date. The review is periodically updated and published in the PAHO Iris Repository.

Information is presented following the GRADE approach, including an interactive summary of results tables and color-coded summaries of effect estimates. Its main objectives are to support decision makers and reviewers to consider alternatives for managing COVID-19.


Related Links

BIGG-REC Database (Spanish and English) –

COVID-Therapy Database (English) –



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