Seven months and more than a million deaths into the pandemic, scientists around the globe still don’t understand why some people infected with coronavirus get extremely ill and die, while others survive.

The sheer range of outcomes for people who get COVID-19—from asymptomatic, to mild symptoms, to moderate disease leading to months-long complications, to death—has infectious disease doctors baffled. In a desperate race against time, researchers are rushing through work to better understand the disease, to find treatments and ultimately to develop an effective vaccine.

But how do we determine whether all this new research is actually useful, unbiased and of high quality? And how do we prevent the spread of misinformation due to overinterpreted, low-quality research findings or outright biased research? Leading medical researchers have begun sounding the alarm on the “pandemic of bad science” threatening our understanding of COVID-19 and potentially putting people at risk (case in point: hydroxychloroquine).

Do we know enough to conclude anything about the relationship between COVID-19 and nicotine? Experts say no.

Inevitably, this bias and bad science has found its way into the debate on tobacco harm reduction by positing a tenuous link between vaping nicotine and COVID-19. The researchers driving this hypothesis are cynically using the pandemic as a golden opportunity to “prove” e-cigarettes damage the lungs. This singular focus on finding harms is inexcusable, and is a wasteful diversion of scientific resources that could be put into eradicating the coronavirus and traditional tobacco smoking—saving millions of lives in the process.

Read full article here.

Annie Kleykamp & Helen Redmond – – October 14, 2020.

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