Compiling Observational Research During a Pandemic: A Necessary Bridge

Dr. Rebekah Moehring and Dr. Thomas Holland talked with Clinical Infectious Diseases Journal about compiling observational research ruring a pandemic. 

Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) has altered the scientific landscape, upending a great many things we had wrongly assumed were immutable. Gone are the days, if indeed they ever existed, when studies came out at a deliberate pace, with a pause for reflection and synthesis. Press releases and nonreviewed preprints offer the sneak peeks that were once the purview of abstracts at scientific meetings. And the pace is torrential—all occurring at a time when practicing clinicians are stretched thin managing high clinical volumes and the associated burnout. As of early June 2020, there were an astonishing 674 active interventional COVID-19 trials, of which 21 were randomized, controlled trials (RCTs) with tocilizumab. In fact, this editorial became a striking example of this phenomenon. It was submitted on 14 October 2020. In the week that followed, 3 tocilizumab RCTs were published, along with another large observational cohort. In the face of such rapid churn, it is tempting to question whether there is value in compiling retrospective, observational cohorts at all. Maybe we should just sit back and bide our time until the RCTs arrive.

The editorial commentary can be read here