COVID-19: contributions from KCE

KCE made its expertise available to colleagues from other government agencies involved in tackling the COVID-19 crisis.

Literature reviews:

Rapid literature review to list the medical procedures that disperse aerosols (contaminating droplets). Identification of the procedures with the highest risk of transmission of a respiratory pathogen. This document helps determine which healthcare providers should as a priority wear masks.

  • Tromboprophylaxis 
    (at the request of the Superior Health Council and the Federal Agency for Medicines and Health products– April-May 2020)

COVID-19 increases the risk of thromboembolic problems, especially pulmonary embolism, which increases the risk of death significantly.

On April 7, Sciensano recommended replacing treatment with oral anticoagulants in hospitalized patients (before admission) with curative low molecular weight heparin. The reason for this was the possible drug interactions and difficulties in adjusting the dose of oral anticoagulants. In addition, the Belgian Society on Thrombosis and haemostasis had published therapeutic algorithms for hospital patients (in intensive care or otherwise) and for ambulatory patients.

The scientific evidence evolves constantly. The purpose of this rapid literature review is to complement the literature review already conducted and to consider whether the above recommendations should be revised or supplemented with specific recommendations for specific patient groups (e.g. pregnant women or women in the post-partum phase).

Clinical trials:

The KCE Trials program is a program of publicly funded, non-commercial, practice-oriented clinical studies. These studies address issues that are usually neglected by industry, despite their high societal importance. 

In the context of the COVID-19 crisis, KCE Trials coordinates and funds clinical trials of hospital researchers to urgently test new treatments.

  • The COV-AID study is about the use of different drug combinations - often used in rheumatoid arthritis - which block interleukin 1 and 6. The aim is to prevent cytokine shock in patients with respiratory problems. This study, which was started by UZ Gent, includes 342 patients in 16 Belgian hospitals.
  • De DAWN-plasma study testing the efficacy and safety of administering plasma from patients cured of COVID-19 to sick patients. This study is a collaboration between university and non-university hospitals in the country, coordinated by UZ Leuven.

International cooperation

The KCE is the Belgian representative at the European Observatory on Health Systems and Policies, an institution of the World Health Organization (WHO). In this context, in April 2020, KCE was asked to post information for Belgium on the international platform, which provides an overview of the corona-measures of each country:

Each country answers a number of questions, in this way an overview of the measures within the different health systems is provided.

Gudrun BRIAT (NL)
Communication Manager for the KCE
+32 (0)2 287 33 54 (FR: 33 48)
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