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Coronavirus advances science and its controversy

Hydroxychloroquine, double-blind research, recovery plasma, and herd immunity-the coronavirus pandemic has pushed the language of science to unprecedented heights. Getting rid of the limitations of the laboratory, these terms and other once obscure terms are quickly becoming part of family language.

However, experts warn that familiarity with terminology does not necessarily lead to better understanding, especially when a large number of new discoveries emerge.

They say that when researchers disagree with or change their minds about the effectiveness of a certain treatment or policy, the normal back and forth of the scientific process can cause confusion.

They added that this was only amplified by the 24-hour news cycle and social networks.

The number of studies on the new coronavirus and the diseases it causes has soared to thousands, with hundreds under research at any given time.

Serge Horbach, an academic publishing expert at Radboud University in the Netherlands and author of a new study on the research explosion caused by the coronavirus pandemic, says that this should be the case.

He wrote that in a public health crisis that has so far infected nearly 5 million people and killed more than 315,000 people, “the rapid dissemination of relevant scientific knowledge is essential.”

As of mid-April, he has cataloged more than 2,000 so-called preprints, which can be published without peer review by scientific journals, which usually takes several months.

Hobach said that even before publication, the usual channels for reviewing research by peers or peer experts have been “significantly accelerated.”

He found that in the current global health pandemic, articles have been online or printed within 57 days, half the usual speed.

The publisher also provided relevant studies free of charge and suspended the usual practice of releasing them under the embargo, which further delayed access.

For years, journals have been under pressure from frustrated authors and scientific institutions to accelerate a practice that dates back to the early 18th century.

They have long “committed to provide faster and faster peer reviews” to cater to readers and authors. Ivan Oransky, co-founder of Retraction Watch, based in the United States, said that the site monitors scientific publications correct.

Fascinating effect
The coronavirus pandemic is not the first public health crisis. In this crisis, rapid release is even faster.

In 2009, the H1N1 influenza pandemic and the SARS epidemic in 2002/3 had the same requirements for results.

However, the first fact is not what the global killers are worried about. The second, although destructive, is still regional. Compared with the current pandemic, the death toll is limited.

However, the peer review process takes time, for a reason.

Hobach said: “People may wonder whether faster is always better.”

Experts worry that there are often a lot of contradictory findings-is this medicine or this medicine effective? Is the mask effective? -Leading everyone to enjoy free media, which will damage the credibility of science itself.

Oranski said: “If you look at the reports of many coffee, wine, and chocolate reporters, they seem to be helpful in one week, and they will kill you in the next week, and no one can be sure.”

In addition, the urge to publish is not necessarily purely out of a sense of public service.

Anne-Marie Duguet, an expert in medical ethics and health law at Paul Sabatier University in Toulouse, said: “To fund research, there is a lot of pressure to publish.”

She believes that the sudden mass of research is not a problem in itself.

She told AFP: “The most important thing is their scientific and moral rigor.” For example, when scientists describe their findings as “promising,” they have to “ask themselves.”

Duguet pointed out the controversy surrounding Didier Raoult, a French professor who actively promotes hydroxychloroquine to treat COVID-19 patients.

US President Donald Trump (Donald Trump) is the world’s most prestigious supporter of the drug, historically used to treat malaria. On Monday, he was surprised to announce that he had been taking it for about a week.

Dugt said: “At scientific conferences, there are more and more controversies.” “But what does the public want? They want us to find a miraculous solution that works and works.”

“Why is Raoul so successful?” she continued. “Because he has no doubts, so he keeps going.”

However, many recent studies have found that hydroxychloroquine (which may also have adverse side effects) is not effective in treating the new coronavirus.

Benoit Gaultier, a professor at the University of Zurich and co-director of the epidemiological research group at the prestigious French Institute in France, said that the resulting controversy “may have intoxicating effects.”

“We ended with public words,’What kind of mess is this?'”

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