Available animal and cell line models have suggested that specific therapeutics might be effective in treating Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS). We conducted a systematic review of evidence for treatment with pharmacologic and supportive therapies. We developed a protocol and searched 5 databases for studies describing treatment of MERS and deaths in MERS patients. Risk of bias (RoB) was assessed by using ROBINS-I tool. We retrieved 3,660 unique citations; 20 observational studies met eligibility, and we studied 13 therapies. Most studies were at serious or critical RoB; no studies were at low RoB. One study, at moderate RoB, showed reduced mortality rates in severe MERS patients with extracorporeal membrane oxygenation; no other studies showed a significant lifesaving benefit to any treatment. The existing literature on treatments for MERS is observational and at moderate to critical RoB. Clinical trials are needed to guide treatment decisions.
Keywords: CoV; MERS; Middle East respiratory syndrome; acute respiratory distress syndrome; antivirals; convalescent plasma; coronavirus; coronavirus infections; corticosteroids; interferon; intravenous immunoglobulin; respiratory infections; ribavirin; severe acute respiratory syndrome; supportive care; systematic review; viruses; zoonoses.
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