A highlight from Audio long-read: How COVID exposed flaws in evidence-based medicine

Nature Podcast


Welcome to this audio long. Read from nature in this episode. How covert broke. The evidence pipeline written by helen pearson and went by me benjamin thomson. It wasn't long into the pandemic before. Simon colley realized we have an evidence problem. It was early. Twenty twenty covid nineteen infections with starting to lap at the shores of the united kingdom. Where carly is an emergency medicine. Doctor at hospitals in manchester cali is also a specialist in evidence based medicine. The transformative ideas that physicians should decide how to treat people by referring to rigorous evidence such as clinical trials as cases of covid nineteen climbed in february carly thought that clinicians were suddenly abandoning evidence and reaching for drugs just because they sounded biologically plausible early studies carly saw being published often lacked control groups or enrolled too few people to draw firm conclusions. We starting to treat patients with these drugs. Initially just on. What seemed like a good idea. He says he understood the desire to do whatever is possible for someone gravely ill but he also knew how dangerous it is to a schumer drug works. When so many promising treatments proved to be ineffective or even harmful in trials quotes the covid nineteen pandemic has arguably being one of the greatest challenges to evidence based medicine since the term was coined in the last century carly and his colleagues of the problems they were seeing other medical experts echoed these concerns with the pandemic now deep into its second year. It's clear the crisis has exposed major weaknesses in the production and use of research based evidence failures that inevitably cost lives. Researchers have registered more than two thousand nine hundred clinical trials related to covid nineteen but the majority a too small or poorly designed to be of much use organizations worldwide have scrambled to synthesize the available evidence on drugs masks and other key issues but comcast pop with the outpouring of new research and often repeats others work. There's been quote research. Waste at an unprecedented scale. Say sue say najji who studies health policy at the london school of economics at the same time shining. Examples of good practice have emerged. Medical advances based on rigorous evidence of helped to chart a route out of the pandemic the rapid trials of vaccines. Were spectacular successes. And well run. Trials of possible treatments have shown for instance that some steroids help to fight covid. Nineteen the drug. Hydroxychloroquine doesn't many physicians point to the united kingdom's recovery trial as

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