As it turns out, coronavirus can occur in different stages that have various characteristics which authorities worldwide are not recognizing reportedly due to media and other bureaucratic influences. The many stages of the virus can even require different treatments, including hydroxychloroquine.
Authorities misinterpreting COVID-19 trial data with ‘disastrous’ results, Canadian researchers say
Influenced by media accounts, scientific oversight boards often don’t recognize there are distinct phases to COVID-19 sickness.
By: Tom Blackwell, Sep 07, 2020, National Post
When British scientists studying potential treatments for COVID-19 released early results on hydroxychloroquine in June, it was not good news.
For patients sick enough with the coronavirus to be hospitalized, there was no evidence the controversial malaria drug did them any good. The RECOVERY trial found the same for the HIV therapy lopinavir.
The findings had a dramatic effect. Around the world ethics boards and funding bodies ended “dozens if not hundreds” of studies on hydroxychloroquine and lopanivir, says Edward Mills, a Canadian clinical trials expert.
The problem with that, he says, is that many of those other trials were looking at the medicines as a treatment for outpatients in a milder phase of the disease, or as a “prophylaxis” to prevent infection in the first place.
The impact on severely ill patients — what the widely respected U.K. trial examined — was largely irrelevant to their work, says Mills, a McMaster University professor who advises the Gates Foundation on clinical trials.
The episode was typical of what has become a serious problem in the COVID-19 pandemic: misinterpretation of trial data, with “disastrous” results for other studies, Mills and colleagues argue in a recent medical journal commentary.
Influenced by media accounts, scientific oversight boards often don’t recognize there are distinct phases to COVID-19 sickness, and that what works at one point in the disease may be useless at another — or vice versa, they wrote in Lancet Global Health.
“The scientific community has been no better versed on the complications of COVID than the general public,” Mills said in an interview. “I’m tremendously disappointed in the scientific community and what I see is a lack of critical interpretation of this complex disease.”