Coronavirus researchers tasked with balancing speed, scientific rigour

Energeticcity is the voice of the Peace.  But we need your help. Give $10 a month today and be the reason we can cover the next story!

OTTAWA — Researchers in the race against time to provide a proven treatment for COVID-19 will have to balance scientific rigour against speed, according to global experts.

Clinical trials for possible treatments and cures have begun around the world, including an unprecedented international study by the World Health Organization.

But the scientific gold standard to test the efficacy of new, unproven treatments isn’t always practical with new cases of COVID-19 spreading around the world.

Earl Brown, a professor emeritus of virology at the University of Ottawa, says even in a pandemic, studies still need to meet all the usual scientific checks and balances.

0:59Coronavirus outbreak: COVID-19 vaccine research continues at University of Saskatchewan

Coronavirus outbreak: COVID-19 vaccine research continues at University of Saskatchewan

“They’re likely to push it as far as they can,” Brown said.

Story continues below advertisement

“But you can’t use people as guinea pigs, even if you’re well intentioned.”

READ MORE: Coronavirus: Canadian company announces COVID-19 vaccine candidate


In ideal circumstances, medical studies follow the double-blind process, with neither participants nor researchers knowing which patients were randomly selected to receive the treatment being tested.

But some studies have relaxed those standards in the wake of COVID-19.

[ Sign up for our Health IQ newsletter for the latest coronavirus updates ]

The World Health Organization launched its own massive international study to look into whether existing drugs can be repurposed to treat the viral disease.


Thanks for Reading! is the voice of the Peace, bringing issues that matter to the forefront with independent journalism. Our job is to share the unique values of the Peace region with the rest of B.C. and make sure those in power hear us. From your kids’ lemonade stand to natural resource projects, we cover it–but we need your support.


Give $10 a month to today and be the reason we can cover the next story.

Social media doesn't show you everything!

Don't miss a story

This site uses cookies to provide you with a great user experience. By continuing to use this website, you consent to the use of cookies in accordance with our privacy policy.