Could the COVID19 Crisis Be Compromising Research Quality?

July 30, 2020 13:48:32

Is the quality of research being compromised during the COVID-19 crisis? It is a question that should be asked by those who are involved in research expeditions. Research studies are crucial in coming up with discoveries; hence a lot of work ethics is always regarded. However, some loopholes may erupt, leading to some questions regarding the quality of research.

Scrutinizing research exceptionalism

The COVID-19 pandemic has continued to erode the norms of scientific research. As nations observe the ongoing efforts to understand and defeat theSARS-Cov2-Virus, clinical and laboratory studies have been conducted at supersonic speeds. Data has been generated in volumes that are somehow hard to comprehend.

However, these are extraordinary days, but it is not an avenue for compromising scientific standards. When it comes to the accuracy of the science, emergencies always demand exceptions to high standards in quality. Does research exceptionalism only occur on the verge of a pandemic? It should be a question of concern to the research fraternity. Some scientists seem to think that research exceptionalism is universal regardless of any circumstance. The difference is that many funders, researchers, and policymakers believe that you can exempt those shortcomings from the normal standards.

Factors contributing to research exceptionalism

These three problematic theories always underpin research exceptionalism:

  1. Some evidence, even when flawed, is preferable than suggestions of expending greater resources on demanding studies whose benefits are seen later.
  2. The opinion that the main features of uncompromising research, such as placebo comparators or randomization differ with clinician’s care obligations
  3. The possibility that sponsors and researchers are generally free to exercise broad responsibility for the form and design of research.

To clarify on the first point, a researcher argued that a little bit of information is dangerous. Researchers also emphasized that if people perceive, based on poorly conducted studies, that treatment is effective for Covid-19, they may be shy to come forward for placebo trials that may rigorously evaluate that effectiveness. It is a big issue since it can slow down the process of determining if a treatment is efficient.

Researchers further add that a lot of treatment is effective in small preliminary reports. However, when subjected to rigorous testing, they turn out to be unsafe and ineffective. For research to be informative and maintain the social value that research should uphold, it needs to fulfill the following responsibilities:

  • Analytical design
  • Its importance
  • Feasibility
  • Analytical integrity
  • Complete reporting of the trial promptly and consistently with pre-specified analyses

Clinical trials

Developing, testing, and manufacturing a therapeutic or preventive agent is always lengthy at normal times. However, it is also essential to follow the required process, even amid a pandemic, without compromising health standards. Health agencies should, therefore, prioritize research approaches that are testing multiple interventions.

However, the recent innovations have eased clinical trials where five treatments can be tested in one clinical trial. These will not only economize on time but also will bring out better clinical trials. Therefore, it should be noted that even in a crisis, the research process must not be compromised. Furthermore, a big lesson that should be learned is that rigorous research during the COVID-19 pandemic is feasible.

It would be enlightening to hear what established players in the biomedical field like Genprex Inc. (NASDAQ: GNPX) have to say regarding how to navigate the research pitfalls brought on by the ongoing pandemic.

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