As the COVID–19 pandemic continues to ravage the world, it’s important for everyone to remember how “The Science” unfolded over the past year. According to one group that tracks publications in scientific journals, over 300 COVID–19–related papers have been retracted due to a lack of scientific truthfulness and ethical guidelines.
The pharmaceutical companies that created the vaccine and helped the government to distribute it assured us that their testing was robust and sound. Meanwhile, outside medical clinics were running their own trials in parallel. But how much testing is actually going on behind the scenes?
According to Gunnveig Grødeland, a senior researcher at the Institute of Immunology at the University of Oslo, many researchers have taken ethical shortcuts when writing their essays. Some of the authors cited trials with sample sizes that were far too small, while others copied and pasted the original article and formed deceptive conclusions.
This is especially concerning when you consider the countless policies and regulations that were implemented as a result of these hasty and unscientific papers. The Lancet, often touted as “The best science for better lives”, even went so far as to falsely claim that hydroxychloroquine caused an increased risk of heart arrhythmia and even death in COVID patients.
The World Health Organization took this false narrative and used it to shut down their research into a medication that could have saved countless lives. The media also joined in on this fear-mongering frenzy, further complicating the already confusing situation.
Another paper, originating from the University of Manchester, reported that COVID was associated with vertigo, hearing loss, and tinnitus. This false narrative was quickly dispelled, though many of the policies which were based on it stayed in place for months.
The unfortunate monologue of misinformation and false narratives continues to this day, but now we have the added problem of hundreds of papers disappearing, with no explanation as to why.
To make matters worse, the World Health Organization has been tight-lipped about the whole situation. Many concerned consumers and citizens have been asking questions, only to receive vague and incomplete answers in return.
The disappearances of hundreds of papers have caused many to feel a sense of distrust towards The Science and uncertainty about the COVID–19 vaccines. It’s important that the government and pharmaceutical companies be open and honest about the details of the vaccines and the trials so that the public can be made aware and feel comfortable with the process.
It’s understandable that everyone was in a hurry during the initial stages of the pandemic. But the need for speed must be moderated by the adherence to proven practices and a requirement for scientific honesty. Otherwise, we run the risk of repeating the same mistakes during future pandemics.