Nobel Laureate's Article On Masks Needs To Be Withdrawn Due To "gross Mistakes"

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Nobel Laureate's Article On Masks Needs To Be Withdrawn Due To "gross Mistakes"
Nobel Laureate's Article On Masks Needs To Be Withdrawn Due To "gross Mistakes"

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Nobel laureate's article on masks needs to be withdrawn due to "gross mistakes"

This is the work of Mario Molina and co-authors, published June 11 in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS). It focuses on the effectiveness of masks during a pandemic.

Nobel laureate's article on masks needs to be withdrawn due to
Nobel laureate's article on masks needs to be withdrawn due to

Photo: Claudio Schwarz / Unsplash 12895

On June 18, researchers at Johns Hopkins University sent an open letter to the journal's editors demanding the immediate withdrawal of the article, which they said contained "glaring errors" and "numerous false statements." The letter was signed by about forty leading scientists from the USA, Australia and Great Britain.

In an article published in PNAS, Molino and colleagues argue that wearing masks is a priority preventive measure during a pandemic, while other methods such as social distancing are ineffective. The study also emphasizes that the virus spreads primarily through airborne droplets.

The authors of the letter noted that these findings generally coincide with the work of other scientists who have done similar work, but the design and methodology of the study raises many questions. So, the study was conducted on the basis of a simple comparison of the incidence and measures taken in different cities and states of America, as well as in Italy and Wuhan. At the same time, Molino ignored important factors affecting the intensity of the spread of the disease, such as population density, contact habits in society and political decisions made. In addition, the authors of the article made many gross factual errors.

“So, the study claims that after April 3, the only difference between New York and (the rest of the states of) the United States was that from April 17, New Yorkers were obliged to wear masks. It is known for certain that this is a false statement. It is also incorrect to say that New York was the only state in which residents were required to wear protective masks,”the scientists turn to the PNAS editorial board.

"Other similar studies have shown evidence that masks can help reduce the spread of COVID-19, but there is not enough evidence in this study," said Linsey Marr, an expert on viral transmission at Virginia Tech.

Mario Molina reacted to the criticism of scientists by stating that his conclusions were "just misunderstood" and noted that the article may have been written in too complex language. The Nobel laureate also admitted that his article may contain "somewhat exaggerated assumptions."

PNAS has confirmed receipt of the letter and is currently investigating the matter, reports the New York Times.

Note that this is not the first time this month when the scientific community has demanded the withdrawal of an article from an authoritative scientific publication. In early June, The Lancet and The New England Journal of Medicine retracted articles that cited research data on the use of antimalarial drugs in the treatment of COVID-19. Both articles used data from the analytical company Surgisphere Corporation, which, as it turned out later, employs only a few people who have a very indirect relationship to science.

The Lancet article reflected the results of a large-scale study of the effectiveness of the antimalarial drugs chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine in the treatment of COVID-19. The study authors stated that patients treated with different regimens including chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine were more likely to die than control patients.

The NEJM article assessed the relationship between antihypertensive drug use and the risk of death in patients with COVID-19.

At the end of May, more than 180 scientists signed an open letter addressed to The Lancet editorial staff and the authors of the study. Scientists said that the article lacks information about the algorithm used to analyze the data, in addition, they hid information about the medical centers that provided the data. It was also not possible to independently verify the sources that provided information for the article in NEJM, so the scientists sent a similar letter to the editor. Thereafter, the Surgisphere Corporation researchers themselves withdrew both articles.

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