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Coronavirus - COVID-19 Information Resources

Search strategy

  • Search for your keywords in All Fields.  Use "inverted commas" to find an exact phrase eg: "coronavirus pneumonia" will find the two words beside eachother in the same sentence.  Combine similar synonyms with OR to find articles that mention one or other of the words/phrases. 
  • Search for Subject Headings that are provided in some databases: MeSH in PubMed; Emtree in Embase.  Subject Headings are added to article abstracts to indicate the main topic of the paper. Recent articles in press may not yet have Subject Headings. Ensure your search is comprehensive by searching for all relevant keywords as well as subject headings.
  • Combine searches of similar meaning with OR.   Combine different topics with AND eg: coronavirus AND pneumonia will find both words anywhere in different sentences.
  • Use Filters/Limits if appropriate: do not filter to Human if you think recent animal research may be useful.  Do not limit your results to full text in any database as this will exclude relevant articles from your results set.  Recent articles in press may only provide an abstract if full text is not yet available.  Do not limit to English language if you would like to include other languages in your result set - most articles will have an abstract translated to English but if the original article was in another language then an English language filter will exclude it from your results.
  • Sort your results by most recent.
  • Some databases allow you to create a personal login and folder where you can save your search to re-run again, or to set up alerts so you will receive regular emails when new articles are added on your topic.
  • As this is a rapidly developing area of current international research, search strategies indicated here may need to be expanded to include additional terms relevant to specific aspects of the research.


If you are searching the internet to find reports that are not published in medical journals, it is recommended that you use phrase searches to find more relevant results, for example: 

coronavirus OR "coronavirus pneumonia" OR “COVID-19” OR “2019 novel coronavirus infection” OR “2019-nCoV” 


Searching PubMed

When you do a keyword [All Field] search in PubMed the results automatically include a subject heading [MeSH] search.

1. Type in your own search topics or copy and paste one of the following sample search strategies created by library staff:

Basic Search for coronavirus for the keyword and MeSH term:

("coronavirus"[MeSH Terms] OR "coronavirus"[All Fields])

Advanced comprehensive search for coronavirus using all currently used synonyms, keywords and MeSH terms:

(coronavirus [MeSH]) OR ("coronavirus infections"[MeSH Terms]) OR (coronavirus [All Fields]) OR ("covid 2019") OR ("SARS2") OR ("SARS-CoV-2") OR ("SARS-CoV-19") OR ("severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2" [supplementary concept]) OR (coronavirus infection) OR ("severe acute respiratory" pneumonia outbreak) OR ("novel cov") OR (2019ncov) OR (sars cov2) OR (cov2) OR (ncov) OR (covid-19) OR (covid19) OR (coronaviridae) OR ("corona virus")

Advanced Search for coronavirus and nosocomial infection and healthcare professionals:

(((((coronavirus [MeSH]) OR ("coronavirus infections"[MeSH Terms]) OR (coronavirus [All Fields]) OR ("covid 2019") OR ("SARS2") OR ("SARS-CoV-2") OR ("SARS-CoV-19") OR ("severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2" [supplementary concept]) OR (coronavirus infection) OR ("severe acute respiratory" pneumonia outbreak) OR ("novel cov") OR (2019ncov) OR (sars cov2) OR (cov2) OR (ncov) OR (covid-19) OR (covid19) OR (coronaviridae) OR ("corona virus")))) AND ((nosocomial infection OR cross infection OR Hospital acquired infection or Healthcare associated infection))) AND ((nurse or nursing or nurses or healthcare professional or healthcare worker))

2. Sort your results by most recent.

3. Add a one year date limit if required. 

4. To combine this search with another topic: do a new search for your second topic and then click on Advanced Search to view your search history.  Click on the Details arrow and Add each topic to the search builder, combine them with AND, and click on Search.

Searching Embase

Embase is a large biomedical and pharmaceutical database that contains Medline/PubMed content within it.  It is an essential source for all clinical research on coronavirus.  If you have already searched Medline/PubMed you can exclude Medline results from your Embase search by including the NOT [medline]/lim in the search strategies below.

1. Open Embase from the library A-Z LibGuides page.  

2. To run a library search strategy simply copy and paste one of the search strategies created by the library below:  

Comprehensive search for coronavirus using keywords and Emtree, excluding Medline/PubMed sources:

('coronavirinae'/exp OR 'coronavirinae' OR 'coronaviridae infection'/exp OR 'coronaviridae infection' OR 'coronavirus disease 2019'/exp OR 'coronavirus'/exp OR coronavirus OR 'coronavirus infection'/de) NOT [medline]/lim

Search for coronavirus and nosocomial infection and healthcare professional, excluding Medline/PubMed sources:

('coronavirinae'/exp OR 'coronavirinae' OR 'coronaviridae infection'/exp OR 'coronaviridae infection' OR 'coronavirus disease 2019'/exp OR 'coronavirus disease 2019' OR 'coronavirus' OR 'coronavirus'/exp OR coronavirus OR 'coronavirus infection'/exp OR 'coronavirus infection') NOT [medline]/lim AND ('hospital infection' OR 'cross infection') AND ('nurse'/exp OR nurse OR 'nursing staff'/exp OR 'nursing staff' OR 'health care personnel'/exp OR 'health care personnel' OR 'physician'/exp OR 'physician' OR 'surgeon'/exp OR 'surgeon' OR 'hospital personnel'/exp OR 'hospital personnel') NOT [medline]/lim

3.  Alternatively, If you prefer to run your own search, click on the Advanced search option.  Type in your own terms and tick the Mapping options to include Emtree terms and the option to include free text searches.  This will search for Emtree thesaurus terms (equivalent to MeSH in Medline/PubMed) as well as your own keywords. Select any relevant Emtree terms and add them to your search using OR. Emtree Subject Headings are denoted /exp and Embase descriptors are denoted /de.


4. Add a date limit of 1 year if required.

5. View your results and click on View Abstract or FullText@RCSI to check for a full text subscription to a particular article.

6. Register for a personal account and save your searches if you wish to re-run them again later using the REGISTER, LOGIN and MY TOOLs options on the top menu bar.  View the Library Guide to Embase here for further details on how to search Embase

Searching Scopus

Open Scopus from the A-Z LibGuides page and click on the Advanced tab.  Copy and paste the following search string and click on Search:

Comprehensive search for recent coronavirus articles:

TITLE-ABS-KEY(coronavirus OR "Middle East respiratory syndrome" OR "Severe acute respiratory syndrome" OR "Porcine epidemic diarrhea virus" OR "Feline infectious peritonitis virus" OR "Murine hepatitis virus" OR "Avian infectious bronchitis virus") AND RECENT(60)


Comprehensive search for recent articles on coronavirus and nosocomial infection and healthcare staff: 

( "nurse"  OR  "nurses"  OR  "nursing"  OR  "healthcare professional"  OR  "healthcare worker" )  AND  ( ( TITLE-ABS-KEY ( coronavirus  OR  "Middle East respiratory syndrome"  OR  "Severe acute respiratory syndrome"  OR  "Porcine epidemic diarrhea virus"  OR  "Feline infectious peritonitis virus"  OR  "Murine hepatitis virus"  OR  "Avian infectious bronchitis virus" )  AND  ORIG-LOAD-DATE  AFT  20200126 )  AND  ( "infection control"  OR  "Cross infection"  OR  "hospital acquired infection" )  AND  RECENT ( 60 ) 

Searching Cochrane

Open Cochrane. Search for coronavirus in the Title Abstract Keyword fields and click on the Clinical Trials tab to view registered trials if there are no relevant systematic reviews published yet.  The Guidance for Healthcare Professionals section of this guide has direct links to collated Cochrane resources.