An observational study without a control group

This blog post is based on a Twitter thread I did on March 27, 2020, after seeing Mathieu Rebeaud’s Tweet about a new white paper from the institute of Didier Raoult. That not-yet peer reviewed paper describes a group of 80 COVID-19 patients, all treated with a combination of hydroxychloroquine and azithromycin. This treatment had shown some promising results in a very small, not well-executed study by the same group. Unfortunately, this second study does not have a control group and the patients did not appear to be very sick. So here is my critical review.

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Post-publication reviews on COVID-19 papers

We are in the midst of a viral pandemic with huge effects on human health, social interactions, and the economy. Suddenly, lots of people have opinions or claim to have solutions to solve the COVID-19 situation. Not surprisingly, the Coronavirus epidemic has led to an enormous input of scientific papers, editorials, letters, reviews, trials, and what have you not. Most of these have been written hastily, without the rigor and thoughtfulness and editing that are normally essential to scientific publishing. Some of these papers are great, many of them not so much. Social media is exploding with all kinds of post-publication reviews of heavily discussed scientific papers. This post is an attempt to collect critical reviews of some of these COVID-19 related scientific papers.

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Thoughts on the Gautret et al. paper about Hydroxychloroquine and Azithromycin treatment of COVID-19 infections

There has been a lot of excitement – and even a presidential tweet about a recent paper from the lab of Didier Raoult, an infectious disease specialist in Marseille, France. But although this study might offer a glimmer of hope, there are some serious problems with the paper too.

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Dr. Ai Fen, 艾芬, the Wuhan Whistle

Dr. 艾芬 (Ai Fen) has played a key role in ringing the alarm in the 2020 COVID-19 outbreak. But blog posts about Dr. Ai Fen ‘s role in the COVID-19 outbreak have been mysteriously disappearing. This post is my contribution to make sure that the Internet Never Forgets.

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Some critical notes on a COVID-19 TCM paper

The recent COVID-19 outbreak has led to an enormous amount of preprints and rapidly-approved papers of variable quality. A recently published paper in Pharmacological Research called “Traditional Chinese Medicine for COVID-19 Treatment” caught my eye. The title suggested that Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) could be used to treat patients that had fallen ill with the viral disease, but a quick read showed that the paper promised much more than it delivered. Here is a critical review.

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Western blots

Many image problems (duplications, manipulations) in scientific papers are found within Western blots. Several readers have asked me to explain what Western blots are, so here is a blog post written with the amazing help of Jon Cousins to provide some insights.

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