Nature: How COVID broke the evidence pipeline


The pandemic stress-tested the way scientific data was produced, revealing flaws in evidence-based medicine. As the cases of COVID-19 climbed and the disruptions in the healthcare system became inevitable, clinicians, in the absence of designated treatment plans, were often found to abandon evidence, reaching, instead, for any treatment that seemed biologically plausible. Published COVID-19 studies were enrolling an increasingly fewer number of people and often lacked control groups to be able to draw firm conclusions. Cochrane’s median time to synthesize evidence and produce reviews takes approximately two years to complete. During the pandemic, however, in pursuit of publishing the most up-to-date data, the time was cut to three to six months. The past year was marked by an unprecedented amount of research and races to launch clinical trials that frequently lowered the standards of evidence as physicians accepted almost any data that came their way to fight off the COVID-19 ambiguity. The pandemic has undoubtedly revealed the need to establish more integrated large-scale national and international clinical-trial protocols which will be prepared to be put in action if we were to face another pandemic in the near future. Read the full article here

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