COVID-19 Trials: Why Are We Asking Questions We Know Answers To?

The author reviews a recent randomized clinical trial of ivermectin’s effect on COVID-19 outcomes..

The COVID-19 pandemic is not over, although the public has moved on from it overall, with researchers gradually shifting back to other important medical topics. Part of this is due to governments and public health authorities learning what works and what does not when treating and preventing COVID-19 infections. Vaccinations work (Source); ivermectin and several other non-evidence-based “cures” do not (Sources 12). While there is room for our understanding to continue growing since hundreds of people in the United States are still dying from COVID daily, the best approach scientifically is to focus on topics that answer the questions that matter now: how do we stop people from dying from COVID?

Despite knowing what we know, groups continue to publish on questions that will not necessarily translate toward more meaningful clinical solutions. Recently, a group published another article, following up on a previous article on roughly the same topic, showing yet again that ivermectin does not help COVID-19 (Source). While exploring topics towards finding solutions is essential, especially if they could translate to saved or improved lives, when should we stop asking questions that we have already gathered fairly comprehensive answers to? While the abundance of misinformation necessitates continued public engagement, why not rely on our extensive, already-collected information? Is the extra financial investment worth it?

While such articles are often delayed from when they are submitted to a journal, meaning publications are not necessarily timely when they come out, I hope that fewer and fewer articles investigate such topics moving forward. If we have robust and reproducible findings, there is little need to continue proving it is believable if experts already feel that way. Due to misinformation campaigns, we will not convince everyone that ivermectin, among other “cures,” does not help COVID. We can move forward and emphasize topics that will translate toward greater clinical care improvements versus engaging naysayers who will not be satisfied with our answers, no matter how many ways we provide information.


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Julian Willett, MD
Julian Willett, MD

M.D. trained in the US, now researching SARS-CoV-2 and COVID-19 in Canada for his Ph.D. After earning my Ph.D., I will be pursuing an Anatomic Pathology residency embracing my path towards being a physician-scientist. My academic interests are directed towards topics that provide the greatest net benefit for the greatest number of people. I love complicated, messy, and poorly understood topics.

I enjoy writing in my spare time, along with 3D printing and staying connected with my family. I have been a longstanding proponent for global health with projects ranging from supporting Doctors without Borders (MSF) to Syrian refugees (Syrian American Medical Society). 

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