It turns out that some inadequate meta-studies affected the general perception against using ivermectin, a common deworming agent, against COVID-19.
After a few weeks since the research was published, some of the clinical trial overviews were put under closer analysis, which revealed some highly unlikely numbers, alongside unexplainable cohort mismatches, inconsistent timelines, and poor methodology.
In spite of the numerous serious mistakes, millions of doses of ivermectin have been administered to COVID-19 patients across the globe, while others, who have never contracted the virus, are using the drug as a preventative, which could possibly endanger their health.
Some scientists are currently asking for immediate remediation of the meta-analysis process to prevent the situation from repeating itself.
In a recently published letter in the journal Nature, the authors are arguing that studies in the meta-analysis phase shouldn’t be widespread unless the writers have access to the raw individual patient data.
If the initial study authors are unwilling to provide detailed information, then clinical trials must be excluded.
Such simple measures would have prevented the spread of the meta-studies regarding ivermectin, according to the researchers.
“In the case of ivermectin, we have evidence that quite a few studies in the literature that were included in meta-analyses are potentially or definitely fraudulent, and these have been included into dozens of meta-analyses without the slightest qualm for months,” said epidemiologist Gideon Meyerowitz-Katz.
“It is only when you review the actual line data that you can detect fraud of this kind, therefore that needs to become standard practice,” they added.