Beyond the curve: Dr. Peter Lurie's COVID-19 blog

It’s hard to find many rays of sunshine in the bleakness of this pandemic, but here’s one: the epidemic has produced unparalleled amounts of scientific information—and more rapidly—on a specific topic than ever before in history. By one estimate, there have already been 31,000 papers on COVID-19, with perhaps 52,000 by mid-June.

Moreover, the pandemic and the information revolution have combined to break down barriers to collaboration between far-flung scientists. And the information is coming out sooner in the research process than it once did. The preprint archives BioRxiv and MedRxiv, the latter fortuitously launched just in time for the pandemic, post papers online before they have been accepted by journals, allowing other scientists to react to their findings in near-real time. There have been some glitches, ironically most prominently in published journal articles, but most would agree that the early data sharing has, in the net, been a success.

The downside has been that it is impossible to stay abreast of the onslaught of continually evolving information. But a band of dedicated scientists has set about the task of organizing the COVID-19 research so that it is readily accessible and digestible. In fact, they’ve been so successful, that there’s been a mini-avalanche of these evidence hubs, themselves distinct and difficult to compare.

That’s where CSPI comes in. Today we’re launching a hub of evidence hubs, dedicated to maximizing the efficiency of the research enterprise and hopefully playing a small part in the timely identification of treatments, vaccines, diagnostic tests, and effective public health measures to address the COVID-19 pandemic. We’ve identified 30 evidence hubs from across the globe and arranged them in a descriptive directory, so that site visitors can easily compare evidence hubs and quickly be connected to the website most appropriate to their needs. Broadly, the evidence hubs either describe clinical trials (completed or ongoing), present the results of completed trials, make an attempt to comment upon or synthesize the evolving information, or perform some combination of the three.

For those of you who are involved in the research enterprise, either by conducting research or providing clinical care based on its fruits, or for those who interpret its results, as journalists or policymakers, we hope you find this new one-of-a-kind resource valuable. And if you don’t fall into one of those categories, please pass along the website to someone who is.

Working collectively and collaboratively offers the best hope for turning back this scourge.

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