Loading articles...

Researchers balancing scientific rigour with speed to find COVID-19 treatment

Last Updated Mar 26, 2020 at 2:32 pm MDT

This undated electron microscope image made available by the U.S. National Institutes of Health in February 2020 shows the Novel Coronavirus SARS-CoV-2, orange, emerging from the surface of cells, gray, cultured in the lab. Also known as 2019-nCoV, the virus causes COVID-19. The sample was isolated from a patient in the U.S. THE CANADIAN PRESS/NIAID-RML via AP

OTTAWA — Experts say researchers racing against time to provide a proven treatment for COVID-19 will have to balance scientific rigour against speed.

Clinical trials for possible treatments and cures have begun around the world, including an unprecedented international study by the World Health Organization.

Earl Brown, a professor emeritus of virology at the University of Ottawa says even in a pandemic, studies still need to meet all the usual scientific checks and balances.

But he says researchers need to push things sometimes, and the scientific gold standard to test the efficacy of new, unproven treatments isn’t always practical as COVID-19 spreads around the world.

In ideal circumstances, medical studies follow the double-blind process, with neither participants nor researchers knowing which patients were randomly selected to receive the treatment being tested.

But those studies can be slow to roll out, and there are ethical issues with creating more work for already overburdened hospitals.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 26, 2020

The Canadian Press