Nowadays, the scientific literature is overflown by an impressive amount of published articles, of which a substantial number reports poor quality data reflecting a low degree of research. In turn, this makes arduous locating the right information, thus biasing the decision-making process based on solid evidences. In this context, studies as systematic reviews are crucial since their aim is to gather and synthetize the available scientific evidence on a specific topic, with a transparent and reproducible approach.
Thus, systematic reviews summarize the progresses made by the scientific community, giving back a powerful tool that can be exploited by risk managers and institutional decision-makers to support political and health choices. Furthermore, these studies are helpful to guide researchers and other involved stakeholders towards future directions to which point their research efforts.
IZSVe activities on systematic reviews
For several years now, researchers at the Istituto Zooprofilattico Sperimentale delle Venezie (IZSVe) have been engaged in producing systematic reviews in the fields of animal health, food safety and zoonosis, by means of a “One Health” approach.
Recently, the IZSVe has set up a “Working Group on systematic reviews” with the following goals:
- Execution of Systematic review and scoping review in the field of foos safety and animal health;
- methodological support to researchers towards the realization and conceptualization of systematic reviews. Particularly, to guide IZSVe researchers throughout the different steps that characterize the fulfilling of a good quality systematic review, in agreement with the most recent available “best practices” and by following the PRISMA guidelines;
- research, evaluation and exploitation of computer tools based on “text mining” and “artificial intelligence” to speed up and automatize the steps of a systematic review. In this sense, the experiences gained in other sectors such as human medicine and social sciences are a valuable cue from which to draw support;
- implementation of training courses to both teach how to carry on a systematic review and, simultaneously, to help participants in acquiring the duly necessary skills in searching, reading and interpretation of the already published scientific articles.
The Working Group, as to fulfill the above mentioned objectives, has put in place a partnership with the Unità di biostatistica ed epidemiologia del Dipartimento di Scienze Cardio-Toraco-Vascolari dell’Università di Padova. This, to encourage experience sharing and to develop semi-automatized computer “pipelines” as a tool for faster systematic review drafting. Last and even more crucial, this collaboration will allow the organization of training courses and favor the production of research initiatives.
The Working Group activities encompass more research groups transversal across the IZSVe, since the nature of systematic reviewing and its many applications in whatsoever scientific field. Therefore, in the publication section there is a list of the research topics that have been tackled so far by the Working Group.
IZSVe contacts for systematic reviews
SCS8 – Optimization and Control of Food Production
Phone: +39 0444 305457
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Systematic reviews published by the IZSVe
- Bertola, M.; Mutinelli, F. A Systematic Review on Viruses in Mass-Reared Edible Insect Species. Viruses. 2021, 13, 2280. https://doi.org/10.3390/v13112280
- Belluco, S., Mancin, M., Marzoli, F., Bortolami, A., Mazzetto, E., Pezzuto, A., Favretti, M., Terregino, C., Bonfante, F., & Piro, R. (2021). Prevalence of SARS ‑ CoV ‑ 2 RNA on inanimate surfaces : a systematic review and meta ‑ analysis. European Journal of Epidemiology, 0123456789. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10654-021-00784-y
- Marzoli, F., Bortolami, A., Pezzuto, A., Mazzetto, E., Piro, R., Terregino, C., Bonfante, F., & Belluco, S. (2021). A systematic review of human coronaviruses survival on environmental surfaces. In Science of the Total Environment (Vol. 778, p. 146191). Elsevier B.V. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.scitotenv.2021.146191
- Antonelli, P., Belluco, S., Mancin, M., Losasso, C., & Ricci, A. (2019). Genes conferring resistance to critically important antimicrobials in Salmonella enterica isolated from animals and food: A systematic review of the literature, 2013–2017. Research in Veterinary Science, 126, 59–67. https://doi.org/10.1016/J.RVSC.2019.08.022
- Belluco, S., Simonato, G., Mancin, M., Pietrobelli, M., & Ricci, A. (2018). Toxoplasma gondii infection and food consumption: A systematic review and meta-analysis of case-controlled studies. Critical Reviews in Food Science and Nutrition, 58(18), 3085–3096. https://doi.org/10.1080/10408398.2017.1352563
- Belluco, S., Gallocchio, F., Losasso, C., & Ricci, A. (2016). State of art of nanotechnology applications in the meat chain: A qualitative synthesis. Critical Reviews in Food Science and Nutrition, 1–13. https://doi.org/10.1080/10408398.2016.1237468
- Belluco, S., Mancin, M., Conficoni, D., Simonato, G., Pietrobelli, M., & Ricci, A. (2016). Investigating the Determinants of Toxoplasma gondii Prevalence in Meat: A Systematic Review and Meta-Regression. Plos One, 11(4), e0153856. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0153856
- Belluco, S., Barco, L., Roccato, A., & Ricci, A. (2016). Escherichia coli and Enterobacteriaceae counts on poultry carcasses along the slaughterline: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Food Control, 60, 269–280. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.foodcont.2015.07.033
- Barco, L., Belluco, S., Roccato, A., & Ricci, A. (2015). A systematic review of studies on Escherichia coli and Enterobacteriaceae on beef carcasses at the slaughterhouse. International Journal of Food Microbiology, 207, 30–39. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ijfoodmicro.2015.04.027
- Belluco, S., Barco, L., Roccato, A., & Ricci, A. (2015). Variability of Escherichia coli and Enterobacteriaceae counts on pig carcasses: a systematic review. Food Control, 55, 115-126. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.foodcont.2015.02.042
Reference bodies for systematic reviewing
- European Food Safety Authority
The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) is a European agency financed by the European Union (EU), which operates autonomously from the other EU institutions (Commission, Council, Parliament) as well as from EU Member States. Its foundation dates back to 2002 according to Regulation (EC) N. 178/2002 (General Food Law) and following a series of foodborne crises occurred at the end of the 90’s. Among its duties, EFSA can advise from a scientific perspective other EU entities and inform the European citizens about food-associated risks.
- Cochrane Collaboration
Cochrane is an international network run by a no-profit organization located in the United Kingdom and member of the National Council for Voluntary Organizations. The network’s aim is to convey high quality scientific notions for health decision-making. Among its audience are physicians, patients, researchers and politicians towards who it promotes health knowledge and pushes for the exploiting of scientific evidence as a tool for decision-making.
- Campbell Collaboration
Campbell Collaboration is an international research network on social sciences, which produces high quality and open evidence syntheses. It summarizes and divulges the current state of scientific knowledge, also by means of policy briefs.
- Collaboration for Environmental Evidence
Collaboration for Environmental Evidence (CEE) is an open aggregation of stakeholders, which promotes global sustainability and biodiversity conservation. With a public focus, CEE aims at summarizing the evidences on major topics encompassing environmental policies.
- Joanna Briggs Institute Collaboration
The Joanna Briggs Institue (JBI) Collaboration is an international research organization located at the Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences at the University of Adelaide (Australia). JBI has gained experience in developing and then providing data, software and training courses based on scientific evidences, to improve health practice and the resulting achievements.
PROSPERO is an international systematic review database, which encompass medical science, public health, social care, welfare, education, crime, law, international development, as well as other topics that may affect health. It aims at providing an exhaustive list of systematic reviews on the aforementioned topics, which will avoid and impair study duplication. PROSPERO is subsidized by the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR).