Gideon is an epidemiologist and writer based in Sydney, Australia. His work covers chronic disease, the pandemic response, and more recently, error detection in science. In this op-ed, he discusses issues with research that have become apparent during the pandemic.

“And then along came a pandemic, and the gaps in science widened to an inescapable chasm.
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” Ronnie Comeau Stocksy
There are no two ways about it: Science is flawed. We’re not talking about the leanings of science or the origins of white coats and linoleum-floored , but about the nuts and bolts of the process by which we determine whether things are true or false.
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In the decades before the pandemic, spent endless hours with the painful fact that much of the knowledge base of science and medicine is reliant on research that is flawed, broken, or never occurred at all.

The outputs of science are not. The culture of academia demands publication and warrants little  about potential errors this means that mistakes are rarely correct.  And yet, we do not know if ivermectin is actually useful in the treatment of COVID-19 at all.

between its mechanics and outputs ivermectin.

And then along came a pandemic, and the gaps in science widened to an inescapable chasm. While biomedical research has had obvious and success in COVID-19 , it has been accompanied by an enormous tidal wave of garbage, which instantly our garbage mitigation mechanisms.

From fraud to wasteful research to papers that it is amazing that they’ve been publishe, the pandemic has produce a tidal wave of woeful output that has, nevertheless, had staggering for people’s lives.

A recent review from the Cochrane collaboration  long the gold standard in medical research. Concluded that should not be use. Outside of clinical trials, which is a stark contrast to the hundreds of millions of doses still being taken for those exact reasons.In early 2020, people were for any kind of treatment for COVID-19. A melange of partial evidence emerged.

This included: a laboratory study showing that the drug acted as a strong antiviral in a petri dish, a study in a French nursing home. Where the residents took ivermectin to treat a scabies outbreak and seemed to enjoy higher survival rates. Preprint reporting that ivermectin reduced the mortality from COVID-19.

All three were weak evidence in different ways. Single in vitro studies are very poorly predictive of eventual clinical outcomes, and the nursing home paper was an accidental and uncontrolle observational study what if the residents had never been expose to in the first place?

The clinical study was entirely fabricate and later withdrawn

The ivermectin story somehow got even worse from there. The medication a 90% mortality benefit or a 100% reduction in cases when used as .

After nearly a year, myself and other data sleuths that many of these studies probably never happene. The damage was well and truly done long before the first fake paper was retracted.

A meta-analysis of ivermectin, which is usually considered the gold standard of research practices, found a huge benefit for the drug.

In any other discipline media, government, private such an analysis would be take down with apologies . The paper is allowe to stand as a testament to the general disinterest of the scientific world in correcting errors.

This story could’ve told very . Imagine a world where the initial laboratory paper came with a disclaimer.

Instead, at every stage, the process of concerns with data is ignore. With being the only flimsy barrier to publication for terrible research.

When we most needed effective , our grand institutions of research instead reviewed studies in a matter of day. If not hours, and posted studies online to be share across the world.

It’s tempting to say that research into ivermectin is uniquely flawed, but that’s clearly not true realistically. It would be if a broken system produced only one failure.