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COMMENTARY
Year : 2022  |  Volume : 15  |  Issue : 4  |  Page : 466-467  

Science in the times of COVID-19


1 Department of Microbiology, Maharashtra Institute of Medical Sciences and Research (Medical College), Latur, Maharashtra, India
2 Department of Surgery, Maharashtra Institute of Medical Sciences and Research (Medical College), Latur, Maharashtra, India

Date of Submission06-Feb-2021
Date of Decision06-Feb-2021
Date of Acceptance07-Feb-2021
Date of Web Publication19-Apr-2022

Correspondence Address:
Basavraj S Nagoba
Maharashtra Institute of Medical Sciences and Research (Medical College), Latur - 413 512, Maharashtra
India
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None


DOI: 10.4103/mjdrdypu.mjdrdypu_96_21

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How to cite this article:
Nagoba BS, Abhijit R. Science in the times of COVID-19. Med J DY Patil Vidyapeeth 2022;15:466-7

How to cite this URL:
Nagoba BS, Abhijit R. Science in the times of COVID-19. Med J DY Patil Vidyapeeth [serial online] 2022 [cited 2022 Jul 3];15:466-7. Available from: https://www.mjdrdypv.org/text.asp?2022/15/4/466/343497



Any research work is not less than a herculean task. However in circumstances like a pandemic, when push comes to shove, everybody wants urgent results. Policy makers and stakeholders at higher positions have their own priorities, deadlines and images to uphold, maintain, control, and please. The emphasis on positive attitude and tendency to please everyone make people unreceptive to negative or inconclusive results. The lines not to be crossed become more blurred. Everybody, including scientists, researchers, doctors, and politicians, gets trapped in the never-ending labyrinths of “Publish or perish.”

As stated in an editorial on “science in the time of corona: that uneasy feeling” by Banerjee,[1] there is a scope to believe the statement that science is being suppressed by politicians and governments ostensibly in the public interest. Scientific integrity is the most vital component that provides scientific expertise and hence, may have impact on the life of the general public. Unfortunately, it is mostly overlooked during pandemics and major health events. This is particularly evident from the following examples during the recent pandemic of COVID-19:

  1. Despite more number of negative aspects of plasma therapy as compared to positive aspects,[2] plasma therapy had been approved as one of the potential therapeutic approaches for COVID-19 patients, based on the results of studies carried out using a very small sample size (2–10 cases), which were not randomized controlled trials (RCT) and that too in COVID-19 patients receiving many other drugs such as hydroxychloroquine, empirical antibiotics, antiviral agents (Lopinavir-ritonavir/Oseltamivir/Arbidol/Ribavirin/Favipiravir/Remdesivir/Peramivir/Interferon α–1b), corticosteroids, etc.[3],[4],[5],[6],[7] Later on, this therapy has been found to be ineffective
  2. Similarly, hydroxychloroquine had been approved as a treatment option in the haste without any scientific proof based on RCTs and tons of this drug were imported by United States of America from India. Hydroxychloroquine has been proved to be of no use in the treatment of COVID-19 later on. Same was the scenario with remdesivir.[8]


Similar is the story with the publications of articles on COVID-19 by various journals including the topmost medical journals of the world, in which many articles had been pushed to the frame in haste without looking for science in it and scientific integrity was mostly ignored. Many journals, including those indexed in PubMed and Web of Science, have published the articles on COVID-19 on the same day or next day of their submission without any systematic peer review. In this environment of academic anarchy, even the best journals sometimes crave for fast track publications.

Such issues add to the stress, disturb the composure in distressful times of pandemic, and thereby create “that” uneasy feeling. As rightly pointed out in the editorial, not only the scientific integrity but also the scientific validity coupled with transparency and good communication can help to calm down “that” uneasy feeling.[1]



 
  References Top

1.
Banerjee A. Science in the time of corona: That uneasy feeling. Med J Dr DY Patil Vidyapeeth 2021;14:115-6. Available from: http://www.mjdrdypv.org/preprintarticle.asp?id=308218;type=0.[Last accessed on 2021 Feb 04].  Back to cited text no. 1
    
2.
Nagoba B, Gavkare A, Jamadar N, Mumbre S, Selkar S. Positive aspects, negative aspects and limitations of plasma therapy with special reference to COVID-19. J Infect Public Health [Internet]. 2020;13:1818–22. Available from: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/32900666. [Last accessed on 2020 Sep 01].  Back to cited text no. 2
    
3.
Shen C, Wang Z, Zhao F, Yang Y, Li J, Yuan J, et al. Treatment of 5 critically ill patients with COVID-19 with convalescent plasma. JAMA 2020;323:1582-9.  Back to cited text no. 3
    
4.
Duan K, Bende L, Cesheng L, Huajun Z, Ting Y, Jieming Q, et al. Effectiveness of convalescent plasma therapy in severe COVID-19 patients. Proc Natl Acad Sci [Internet]. 2020;117:9490 LP – 9496. Available from: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/32253318/.  Back to cited text no. 4
    
5.
Zhang B, Liu S, Tan T, Huang W, Dong Y, Chen L, et al. Treatment with convalescent plasma for critically Ill patients with severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 infection. Chest [Internet]. 2020;158:e9-e13. Available from: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/32243945/.  Back to cited text no. 5
    
6.
Ahn JY, Sohn Y, Lee SH, Cho Y, Hyun JH, Baek YJ, et al. Use of Convalescent plasma therapy in two COVID-19 patients with acute respiratory distress syndrome in Korea. J Korean Med Sci [Internet]. 2020;35:e149. Available from: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/32281317.  Back to cited text no. 6
    
7.
Ye M, Fu D, Ren Y, et al. Treatment with convalescent plasma for COVID-19 patients in Wuhan, China. Med Virol 2020;92:1890-901.  Back to cited text no. 7
    
8.
Cohen J, Kupferschmidt K. “A very, very bad look” for remdesivir. Science 2020;370:642-3.  Back to cited text no. 8
    




 

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