The Fallout of Faulty COVID-19 Research

As many as 200 academic papers on COVID-19 have been retracted since the start of the pandemic due to reasons ranging from calculation errors to missing evidence to fraud.

  • The flaws were especially egregious in many early studies declaring the effectiveness of therapeutics like ivermectin or hydroxychloroquine—papers which were eventually deemed problematic. 
  • Retractions don’t fix the damage done by the faulty studies: even small-scale papers can have “strong influence on broader conclusions about COVID-19,” and confusion around retractions adds to “inflaming our all-consuming culture war.” 
  • The problem speaks to the need for more guardrails around—or even a total overhaul of—the peer-review process, some researchers say.


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