NICE has published its first rapid guidelines for use during the coronavirus pandemic.

The first three guidelines cover care for people receiving critical care, kidney dialysis and systemic anticancer treatments.

The guidelines have been developed in collaboration with NHS England, NHS Improvement and a cross-speciality clinical group, supported by the specialist societies and royal colleges.

NICE is using a different approach to allow these guidelines to be developed quickly. 

For example, there will be no systematic literature search. Existing guidance will be reused as far as possible.

More rapid guidelines are being developed and will be published by NICE shortly.

Changes to working practice

NICE guidance is produced by advisory committees which include a lot of frontline NHS staff.

To avoid taking them away from their work caring for patients, NICE is reviewing all the guidance it has in development and prioritising:

  • Therapeutically critical topics
  • Diagnosis of COVID-19
  • Treatment of COVID-19

It will be contacting committee chairs and members soon if their topic is affected.

Rapid evidence reviews

New rapid evidence reviews will look at whether certain medicines may increase the severity or length of COVID-19 illness.

NICE is currently reviewing:

  • Ibuprofen and other non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs used to reduce temperature and ease flu-like symptoms
  • Angiotensin converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors used to treat high blood pressure or heart failure

It is also working with the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency to facilitate rapid reviews of information and advice on the safety and efficacy of treatments for COVID-19.

NICE has waived its normal licensing requirements for reuse and reproduction of its content for rapid guidelines and rapid evidence reviews internationally. For more information on the terms click here.

It is also providing free fast-track advice for companies developing novel diagnostics or therapeutics for COVID-19.