Virus pushes science and its controversies centre stage

Hydroxychloroquine, double-blind studies, convalescent plasma, herd immunity — the coronavirus pandemic has thrust the language of science into public view as never before.

Having escaped the confines of the laboratory, these and other once-obscure terms are fast becoming part of household parlance.

But familiarity with the terminology does not necessarily lead to a better understanding, especially when there is an avalanche of new findings, experts caution.

When researchers disagree or change their mind on the efficacy of a treatment or policy, the normal back-and-forth of the scientific process can breed confusion, they say.

This is only amplified by a 24-hour news cycle and social networks, they add.

The number of studies about the new coronavirus and the disease it causes has skyrocketed into the thousands, with hundreds more in the pipeline at any given time.

This is as it should be, said Serge Horbach, an expert on academic publishing at Radboud University in The Netherlands and author of a new study about the explosion in research sparked by the coronavirus pandemic.

Hydroxychloroquine, double-blind studies, convalescent plasma, herd immunity — the coronavirus pandemic has thrust the language of science into public view as never before.

Having escaped the confines of the laboratory, these and other once-obscure terms are fast becoming part of household parlance.

But familiarity with the terminology does not necessarily lead to a better understanding, especially when there is an avalanche of new findings, experts caution.

When researchers disagree or change their mind on the efficacy of a treatment or policy, the normal back-and-forth of the scientific process can breed confusion, they say.

This is only amplified by a 24-hour news cycle and social networks, they add.

The number of studies about the new coronavirus and the disease it causes has skyrocketed into the thousands, with hundreds more in the pipeline at any given time.

This is as it should be, said Serge Horbach, an expert on academic publishing at Radboud University in The Netherlands and author of a new study about the explosion in research sparked by the coronavirus pandemic.

By AFP

 

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