Coronavirus literature searches

Welcome to the COVID-19 Literature Search Bank, a central repository for literature searches on COVID-19

COVID-19 search bank

HEE is facilitating the sharing of good quality searches and strategies related to COVID-19 to save time and reduce duplication across NHS Libraries.

A group of expert searchers from across the country has helped inform this tool and are providing light touch reviews of incoming searches to enable timely sharing of the community’s work.

Health librarians are invited to share any COVID-19 searches by e-mailing them to [email protected].

In order to help the team in organising this information, it would be helpful if you could include the following: Date search conducted; Source(s); Search strategy and the audience/context.

Please see the search bank database.

If you require an accessible format please contact [email protected] 

Covid-19 literature search interview, Two people in masks discuss a literature search in the library

Ready-made search strategies

Long COVID Search Strategy for Ovid Medline

From Keith Nockels at the University of Leicester, updated March 2021.

NICE Long COVID Strategy

Strategy for comprehensive searches on managing the long-term effects of COVID-19.

Ready-made Search Strategy in PubMed

Also called a canned search or a search hedge, this is great for use in an advanced PubMed search.

“COVID-19″[All Fields] OR (“coronavirus”[MeSH Terms] OR “coronavirus”[All Fields]) OR “Corona virus”[All Fields] OR “2019-nCoV”[All Fields] OR “SARS-CoV”[All Fields] OR “MERS-CoV”[All Fields] OR “Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome”[All Fields] OR “Middle East Respiratory Syndrome”[All Fields]

NICE COVID-19 search strategy for Ovid MEDLINE and Embase

A new version of the NICE strategy incorporating MeSH terms. 

See the detailed description of how the NICE team created and tested the version.

NLM – MeSH COVID-19 concepts

Supplementary COVID-19 concepts which have been added to MeSH.

Ovid Expert Search Strategies

COVID-19 expert searches of Medline and/or [email protected] for front-line clinicians and medical researchers.

Google Scholar for Published and Unpublished Literature on COVID-19

Live strategy and results

GIDIF-RBM – L’Associazione dei Documentalisti Biomedici Italiani

An Italian website containing search strategies on COVID-19 for PubMed,, Scopus and Web of Science.

PubMed strategy devised by Keith Nockels

covid OR covid19 OR covid2019 OR novel coronavirus OR ncov OR 2019-ncov OR novel betacov OR novel betacoronavirus

[Section Last checked: 6/01/21]

Hints and Tips


A database of pre-prints.  One of John Higgins’ phd students has developed this tool

Contains an advanced search builder.  The Help page illustrate how to do proximity and wildcard searches.  Not as up to date as medRxiv but updated daily.

Other COVID-19 Search Initiatives

WHO COVID-19 Database

WHO is gathering the latest international multilingual scientific findings and knowledge on COVID-19. The majority of citations referenced are published journal articles. The global literature cited in the WHO COVID-19 database is updated daily (Monday through Friday) from searches of bibliographic databases, hand searching, and the addition of other expert-referred scientific articles. Particular emphasis is placed on identifying literature from around the world. Multiple search strategies that are under continual revision are used to obtain this global perspective. Available since January 26th, a more powerful search interface has just been launched on the 14th of April.

NIHR COVID-19 Response

NIHR Applied Research Collaboration (ARC) West Researchers are reviewing evidence and offering their relevant topic and methodological expertise to help inform decision-making.

Medical Library Association COVID-19 Literature Searches

A list of search strategies covering different aspects of COVID-19, which when clicked, run in PubMed.

ALIA COVID-19 Live Literature Searches

A categorised set of search strategies from the Australian Library and Information Association. covering different aspects of COVID-19, which when clicked, run in PubMed.

Canadian Libraries

COVID-19 Rapid Evidence Reviews – To minimize duplication of efforts and facilitate collaboration within public health across Canada, the National Collaborating Centre for Methods and Tools has collected research questions for rapid evidence reviews currently in development.

NHS Scotland

Central repository of completed searches on COVID-19 conducted by NHS Scotland Library Services for health and care staff across the country.

Public Health Scotland’s repository of Scottish COVID-19 research

Research has been collated from Public Health Scotland and Scotland’s academic institutions.  In the next phase content from additional sectors, including NHS, local government and the third sector will be added.

Norwegian Institute of Public Health

Live map of COVID-19 evidence: We provide an overview of scientific publications on COVID-19 categorized and parsed into more specific subgroups, providing quick access to specific topic-relevant publications.

Ireland – National Service Executive Library

Summaries and search protocols from the Covid-19 Evidence Response team in Ireland.

[Section Last checked: 6/01/21]

Page last reviewed: 15 June 2021