Don’t amplify bad science!

By: |
January 18, 2021 6:10 AM

Many studies seem to ignore the retraction of the controversial study on negative outcomes of HCQ administration in Covid-19

covidMany reports by experts have indicated that imposition of strict mask mandates in the country can be a reason for lower cases.

Rapid knowledge dissemination on Covid-19 has, without doubt, given the fight against the pandemic a huge leg up. However, this hasn’t come without costs. The need for sharing research findings in the larger interest has also meant wide coverage for questionable research. Pre-prints (works that have not been peer-reviewed) have received almost as much publicity as published work. One consequence of this is bad science getting amplified.

Science reports that it found that nearly 200 articles published last year—including in many respected journals—cite two studies that were retracted by Lancet and New England Journal of Medicine in June 2020, to support their own findings, long after the retractions. The two retracted papers were based on what Surgisphere, a company with links to a co-author in each of the two articles, claimed was a large database of Covid-19 patient records from across the world. The Lancet study was the one that claimed the antimalarial hydrochloroquine worsened clinical outcomes in Covid-19. Surgisphere’s ‘database’ and its genuineness had come under a cloud, with questions over its very existence. Yet, Science found one of the two studies was a primary source for many of the 200 studies examined by it. Such callous amplification muddles the understanding of the disease. While publications need to vet research works better, the media too must publicise retractions and peer criticism of research work far more proactively.

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