Studies with a flawed approach to dealing with Kovid-19 and sluggish conclusions are heating up discussions on social networks. They give scientific credibility to anti-vaccine skepticism.
Studies about coronavirus are now being discussed and widely shared outside the medical circle, not enough to appease their withdrawal interests. “Once the paper is published, the damage is irreversible,” said Emerson Brooks, a resident researcher at the Atlantic Council’s Digital Forensic Research Lab, a laboratory specializing in detecting and analyzing false information in Washington.
According to him, these problematic studies ‘fueled the flames’ in discussions on social networks with the Kovid-19 conspiracy and skeptics. These studies often ‘create a lot of traction online’. Their research on other platforms is ‘selected by fake articles’.
In late June 2021, the Medical Journal published a study on the risks and benefits of vaccinating against coronavirus. Research, confirmed by the Scientific Reading Committee, has provided alarming conclusions: the vaccine causes two deaths for every three people protected from the virus.
Two days after the study was published, a tweet by scientist and Covid-19 vaccine critic Robert Malone garnered thousands of retweets echoing the findings of the study. For her, conservative American commentator Liz Wheeler introduced the study and encouraged her to read these ‘informative recommendations’ in a video that reached over 250,000 views on Facebook.
But on July 2, the medical journal withdrew the study; At issue: ‘Many resolutions are fundamentally compromising the interpretation of its resolutions’. Although the Robert Malone tweet was deleted, Liz Wheeler’s video is still available on Facebook.
Chloroquine and mask
These examples of the neglect of the scientific publishing process also appear in popular journals. In June 2020, The Lancet, the most prestigious journal in the New England Journal of Medicine and Annals of Internal Medicine, announced that they were withdrawing medical studies published on their site, respectively: two of them related to the treatment of Kovid-19 with chloroquine, and the third dealing with the spread of the virus.
Scientific research papers have “gained unprecedented interest,” said Maimuna Mazumdar, an epidemiologist and statistician at the Harvard School of Medicine. According to her, health professionals should explain their work well to unfamiliar people.
‘Not all studies produced and widely shared during the epidemic are always scientifically sound,’ she says.