Coronavirus (1432) How a few poorly designed COVID-19 studies may have contributed to misinformation in Brazil

24 January, 2022

Interesting short paper from Brazilian authors who 'briefly discuss how a small set of exceptionally poorly designed studies disseminated through the press, weeks or months before publication and without access to the data sets used to generate these studies for a more thorough assessment, played into a cycle of misinformation in Brazil in the first year of the pandemic.' The paper focuses on chloroquine, ivermectin and nitrazoxanide.

Citation, extracts and a comment from me below.

CITATION: How a few poorly designed COVID-19 studies may have contributed to misinformation in Brazil: the case for evidence-based communication of science

Charles Phiilipe de Lucena Alves et al.

BMJ Open Sci. 2021; 5(1): e100202.

Published online 2021 Sep 2. doi: 10.1136/bmjos-2021-100202


To conclude, we suggest a programme of scientific investigation aimed to properly examine and address those issues and foster trust between scientific community, the media and society... into associations between study methodological quality, science communication practices, media frames (taking into consideration outlet partisanship or lack thereof) and estimated impact on public behaviour in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic...

Public communication of science should be evidence based as well, and there is much to learn from the current crisis.

COMMENT (NPW): Sadly, much (if not most) public communication of science is distorted, or biased, or sensationalised, or even wilfully misleading. The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted this major issue that denies people access to what they need: reliable healthcare information, communicated objectively and in a way that is readily understood. Researchers themselves have an important role, and this can be negative as well as positive (some researchers are unfortunately motivated by getting their specific research into practice rather than by an objective analysis of the cumulative evidence).

Neil Pakenham-Walsh, HIFA Coordinator,